#CNILux: Understanding The New Mindful Chinese Consumer

Vogue China editor-in-chief Angelica Cheung has been a regular at the CNI Luxury Conference for the last three years, providing invaluable insight into the fascinating evolution of the Chinese luxury consumer. Today, she informed us how things have moved on as these customers grow up.

“That first round of luxury consumers has wardrobes filled with clothes, their shelves with shoes, and they are starting to understand what we have always said in Vogue: that it’s more important to find a style that suits. They are starting to not just get satisfaction out of products alone.”

This intelligence and consideration surrounding shopping habits, also extends to making choices in luxury travel, where Cheung said the Chinese are gaining more understanding and becoming more tolerant. They’re appreciating heritage pieces and craftsmanship which comes with gaining a wider perspective, “a growing sophistication,” as Cheung put it, that points to a more mindful consumer – as opposed to mass consumer – emerging from the east.

At the CNI Luxury Conference in Seoul, and Florence before it, Cheung spoke of the frustration this consumer feels when targeted either by the same marketing campaigns as the west or with messages and images that paint a China of old – ignorant attempts at staking a claim on the prosperity of the region.

“They have moved on from being seen as poor-money peasants with no taste to posing a serious challenge to luxury brands and forcing them to up their game,” said Cheung. “The one-dimension approach to China has become outdated. China has become multi-layered and therefore requires a multi-layered approach.”

That extends to Vogue China itself. The approach that Cheung and her team have adopted, to speak not only to this generation of luxury consumers but also to the next, is also a multi-layered one. The team “takes pains in creating the right creative idea” through the use of captivating video content and quality editorial and shoots, communicated through a mix of print, online and social-media platforms. All this instead of employing a celebrity to create a quick fix.

“Many businesses are facing challenges and are under pressure to produce immediate results, and so many opt to use celebrities to get high-end sales,” she explained, adding that the frenzy over booking certain Chinese celebrities to do so only raises prices and results in a diluted concept from a fashion house. “This may generate sales, but the wrong choice of celebrity may damage the image of the brand and deter more sophisticated customers from buying into the brand. Brands need a communication strategy that fits both long-term and short-term goals. A strategy that can attract immediate attention and also reflect the essence of the brand.”