For many Chinese women, a set of new lingerie is what can be hardly missed in their New Year shopping list, and lingerie sales have increased by at least 20% during the New Year holiday. According to statistics, China lingerie market size was above 8 Billion Euro in 2010 and increasing by 20% in recent years and China has become the fastest growing lingerie market worldwide. Chinese female consumers are in perfect ages to afford intimate apparels, with approximately 525 million women over 15, in which 21% are between 15 and 24 years of age, and 41% are in the 25 to 44 age range. Although the lingerie sector still far lags behind lady wear sector in China, whose market size is around 44billion Euros in 2010, it is estimated that Chinese lingerie sector keeps growing very fast, and within ten years the market size can reach 100 billion Euros. The market is so huge that to dominate with SEO in this will be rather tricky and will be rife with competition, proof of this is that neither domestic nor foreign brands would ignore and are flocking to the frenzy.
Time changes, and nowadays, all brands would come up with eye-catching ads with sexy models every season, with emphasis on their quality materials as well as designs with unique themes. Meanwhile, Chinese ladies today are more open to such sexy ads and are willing to spend more time to discuss with sales assistants and their friends on the intimate apparels in public to find out the right pieces.
Such changes have been more or less accompanied by foreign brands’ entry into China. However, China lingerie market is not dominated by foreign players. More specifically, there are no predominating brands like Chantelle in French, Victoria’s Secret in USA and Marks and Spencer in UK, thus offering a brilliant chance for both international brands and domestic brands to snatch the immense market shares. Currently, China Lingerie industry is highly fragmented with the largest competitor accounting for less than 5% of overall market size.
Triumph is one of the earliest foreign lingerie brands entering in China, and it has already occupied a strong market position. Meanwhile, most foreign brands like Wacoal and CK are still in their early stage of expansion in China. Most domestic brands, compete in the low-end, but are moving up quickly in recent years, and some domestic players, through strong distribution and advanced quality, are become leading brands i.e., Aimer.
Wide consumer preference differences exist because of age, north and south climate, consumers figures, consumers appreciation of beauty, etc. i.e., lace is loved by matured ladies while cotton and new materials are widely used in young girls’ underwear; customers in south China are more sophisticated and deeply influenced by western views while customers in north China pay more attention on shop image and packaging; while most customers still purchase through traditional distribution channels department stores, mono-brand stores, supermarkets etc., more and more young consumers now prefer to shop online which provides a more convenient way of shopping.
In order to cater to different consumer segments, the largest players use multi-brand strategies to target different group of customers. For example, the leading domestic lingerie player- Aimer owns 4 sub-brands, i.e., LACLOVER, Aimer, imi’s, Shine Love. LACLOVER, Aimer and imi’s target high-end market, matured middle-class ladies, and young and energetic girls, respectively, while Shine Love is a brand for online business.
With longer experience in lingerie sector, foreign brands have obvious advantages in branding and design while leading domestic players are gradually narrowing the gap. As consumers, Chinese ladies would love to see the domestic and foreign lingerie players further enhance competition and cooperation with each other, and make them even more glamorous with the ‘women’s second skin’.
Like other fashion products, lingerie reflects the users’ attitude on their lifestyle. 20 years ago, when the market started to open and foreign brands began to emerge in China, Chinese ladies realized for the first time that lingerie could be more than a simple cotton underwear, but functional and fashionable to help ladies shape a beautiful curve. With increased income, especially in first-tier cities, increasing importance is being given to factors like quality, brand, and design when ladies are choosing lingerie.