Forming Emotional Connections with the New Generation of Chinese Luxury Consumers

Chinese Luxury Consumers

Forming Emotional Connections with the New Generation of Chinese Luxury Consumers

News / Thursday, 28 July 2016 - 17:37

Earlier this month Albatross was pleased to deliver a session on the Chinese luxury consumers to the 2016 MSc in Luxury Management & Marketing class of the emlyon Business School in Shanghai.

The session covered the broad trends shaping the luxury landscape in China, providing an overview of how the lifestyle of affluent Chinese is changing and how luxury brands are responding. From there, Albatross covered some specific themes, including the shifting motivations that drive luxury consumption, the increasing importance of an omnichannel strategy, and the need to engage the millennial consumers who represent the future of luxury.

The MSc  students were particularly interested in the increased individualism of Chinese luxury consumers and how brands might shift their marketing strategies accordingly. How does a brand speak to the individual in China? How can luxury meaningfully contribute to a sense of personal growth and life achievements in a Chinese context?

One way, Albatross suggested, is by creating content that reflects on issues that are of personal and emotional importance to a key consumer group. This is particularly important for reaching millennial consumers, who increasingly expect brands to have a position on cultural changes in the larger society. For example, millennial women are an important demographic for luxury brands in China, as their increasing economic power and independence gives them an unprecedented ability to buy luxury products for themselves. In order to reach them, luxury brands must at minimum speak to this newfound wealth and independence, but those who would emotionally engage them must go further.

Being on the vanguard of social change is exciting and empowering, but it can also be painful and difficult. By addressing the complicated feelings Chinese women have about their changing social position, brands have an opportunity to make a personal, emotional connection that doesn’t rely on any specific product or brand ambassador. The recent viral video “Marriage Market Takeover” is a great example of this approach. In it, cosmetic brand SK-II powerfully and directly addressed some of the struggles that women face in China, particularly those who want to live life on their own terms. By taking a clear position on a sensitive social issue, this video forms the basis for a deeper level of emotional engagement than luxury brands have had with Chinese consumers in the past.

We would like to thank Dr. Klaus Heine for his invitation to present this seminar, and the MSc in Luxury Management & Marketing students of emlyon Business School for their attention and insights.