Following the declaration of the end of the confinement and quarantine period in China in mid-April, consumption in the fashion, beauty and luxury goods sectors has resumed in the country.
"Revenge buying" is the astonishing name given these days in China to a new social and consumerist phenomenon: bulimic buying, both online and in-store, observed in some sectors after the lifting of the confinement imposed following the covid-19 outbreak in the country. The trend is most pronounced in fashion and luxury goods, among others.
The trend first appeared online in the midst of the confinement period. While retail sales of accessories fell significantly between January and March, several major Chinese e-commerce platforms, such as Taobao and TMall, and international ones, such as Border X Lab or Farfetch, were on the other hand overwhelmed for several weeks.
Based in the Silicon Valley and Shanghai, Border X Lab, which offers online sales of 6 million products of American and European brands, and 80% of whose customers are based in China, recorded a very strong increase in its sales of handbags and shoes during the confinement period in China. Another platform, Beyond, with a network of 13 million members in China aged between 18 and 30, saw its sales of streetwear and sneakers take off. And those of its wellness, beauty and cosmetics products soared by +833%. An unprecedented performance. Among the brands in high demand: La Mer, Esthée Lauder, Tom Ford, Nars and MAC. "China is demonstrating an encouraging recovery in the consumption of beauty products," notes L'Oréal, which saw its sales increase by 6.4% in the last quarter. In fashion and luxury goods, brands such as Céline, Comme des Garçons, Fendi, YSL, Loewe, Gucci, Dior and Coach also enjoyed strong momentum. For example on watches, small leather goods and sunglasses. In mid-April, on the Saturday of its reopening, the Hermès boutique in Guanghzou was robbed outright by a crowd of customers - the store announced 2.4 million euros in revenue at the end of the day!
Online, Chinese consumers hope that "by consuming French and Italian, it can help, even on a small level, to support the economies of these countries, which have also been hit hard by the epidemic. " Chinese digital platforms have also seen, over the last three months, that young local and foreign designers and other niche brands founded by independent designers have experienced unprecedented volumes of orders. In addition, Chinese consumers are buying quickly and easily via their mobile payment solutions such as Alipay.
The return to stores and consumer, leisure and lifestyle venues (cafes, restaurants, hotels) is also seen in major Chinese cities. The frustration, fear and grief generated during weeks of deprivation seem to be leading to new consumer attitudes and a greater need than before to communicate and interact.