Pricey parkas make inroads in chilly China

Updated 2018-02-15 20:06:00 China Daily

Tourists wear thick down jackets walking on Chang'an Street in Beijing.

Younger, trendy consumers buy leading Canadian and other brands

Wearing a 0 parka with real coyote fur and Canadian Hutterite goose down, originally designed for expeditions to the South Pole, on her three-minute walk to work, sounds perfectly fine to Amber Zhang who makes less than 0 a month.

"It's all worth the price considering Canada Goose coats are the warmest I can find in the market," said Beijing-based Zhang.

Sales of winter jackets rose sharply as the unusually cold wind forced people to buy protective garments that could shield them from harsh winter. Compared with function and design, the price tag seems less important for Chinese middle-income consumers.

"Female consumers now focus more on how the clothes make them look when making decisions, compared with the past when they looked at sales prices," said Neil Wang, president of the Chinese operations of consulting firm Frost & Sullivan Inc.

"Chinese consumers in general want jackets that are light in weight, good in quality and trendy in design," Wang added.

In demand more than ever before, the latest high-end jacket brands coming to the market meet most consumers' needs.

According to a report from consulting firm Bain& Co Inc, the market in China for high-end brands in general is now fueled mostly by younger generations, especially millennials. The Bain report also noted that China represented 32 percent of the global luxury market in 2017 and emerged with the biggest market share.

Italian luxury outerwear brand Moncler SpA, whose prices range from ,000 to ,000, for instance, has continued its global sales growth, powered in part by China. In the full year to March 31, total revenue climbed 16 percent to 2.7 million compared with 1 million in 2016.

Asia accounted for around 40 percent of its global revenue, while the combined total for the Chinese and South Korean markets posted a 23 percent rise.

Another example of the fast-growing appetite for luxury down jackets in China is the Canadian extreme weather outerwear brand Canada Goose.

Compared with recent years, when consumers would balk at 0 to over ,000 price tags, customers now fall over themselves to buy them.

According to a quarterly report released by Canada Goose, the company's total revenue to end-Sept was 1 million, up 27.2 percent year-on-year. Its gross margins were 63.6 percent, up from 57.5 percent for the same period the previous year.

Its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange, surged from its Initial Public Offering price of .78 on March 16 last year to a peak of .25 a share.

According to a sales representative who is unwilling to reveal her name, Chinese consumers have contributed greatly to its growth.

Although the brand shows little official presence in China as yet, its products are becoming noticeably more visible on the streets of major cities there as many consumers utilize cross-border e-commerce platforms, go to fashion buyer stores in China or employ personal overseas shopping agents or daigou.

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