Saint Laurent Ventures Online in China as Luxury Portals Take Off
By Reuters 9 January 2018
PARIS — French fashion label Saint Laurent, part of Kering, will start selling online in China through a JD.com portal, joining shopping players like Alibaba in trying to tap strong luxury goods demand from Chinese consumers.
The French brand, created in 1961 by its late founder Yves Saint Laurent, said on Monday it was partnering with Toplife, a platform launched last October by JD.com that aims to woo luxury buyers with same-day deliveries and premium services.
It rivals Luxury Pavilion, a similar portal launched in August that is backed by Alibaba’s Tmall platform and features products from fashion groups such as Burberry.
Chinese shoppers made up 32 percent of the worldwide luxury market in 2017, more than any other nationality, consultancy Bain & Co said, making it a crucial market for fashion brands.
KPMG has projected, meanwhile, that half of China’s domestic luxury consumption could come from web sales by 2020.
Online shopping has proved a potent earnings driver for fashion brands even if many were initially reluctant to distribute their wares too widely.
Top labels such as Kering’s Gucci or LVMH’s Louis Vuitton recently started marketing directly to Chinese buyers with their own websites in the country.
High-end fashion houses are still wary of alliances with mass-market platforms such as Amazon, however, fearful they will lose control of their image.
JD.com and Alibaba’s specialist luxury platforms have already lured several other brands, touting themselves as more exclusive, selective sites.