Can luxury brands find a bedfellow in China’s livestreaming?
When in Rome…
Since Louis Vuitton’s livestream debut in 2020 on China’s largest lifestyle-sharing platform Xiaohongshu, more global luxury labels have turned to live broadcasting over the past two years. The practice has become commonplace for brands such as Burberry, Coach, Dior, Gucci, and more, across China’s digital space, including e-commerce giants Taobao and Tmall and social media platforms like Weibo, and Chinese TikTok Douyin, and its rival Kuaishou.
Despite timely actions that have been described by some as “resigning their brand positions” in a bid to hop on China’s livestream bandwagon, which has grown into a market valued at 295 billion RMB ($43.7 billion) as of 2021 fuelled by COVID outbreaks, luxury players’ livestreaming efforts have not yet hit the mark from a sales point of view following lacklustre viewership and engagement.
Luxury players’ livestreaming efforts have not yet hit the mark from a sales point of view.
Luxury brand’s three approaches to livestreaming
By far, luxury brands who decide to “do as the Romans do” have discovered several approaches to livestreaming including live broadcasting runway shows, store scouting and the most direct way, studio selling. Fashion show livestreaming is the most endorsed option as brands have full control over the entire event whilst also being able to maintain the brand’s premium image, and so far, it has turned out to be the most effective online traffic driver too.
Most recent examples include Louis Vuitton’s 2022 Spring/Summer Womenswear Show last November, which was watched by over 66 million on China’s biggest microblogging site Weibo and another 43 million tuned in on Kuaishou. Also seeing momentum was Dior, whose 2020 Autumn/Winter Haute Couture Collection show racked up 8 million views on the day on Weibo where the show was live streamed exclusively and the show’s hashtag garnered more than 210 million views.
Fashion show livestreaming is the most endorsed option as brands have full control over the entire event.
Meanwhile, some brands took their livestream room to offline stores in an attempt to bring the physical shopping experience to consumers. Burberry has been the one making waves through this different approach by collaborating with fashion bloggers, who took on the role as a customer visiting the brand’s flagship store in Shanghai, trying on different outfits whilst a store salesperson explained the product specifications, therefore, replicating an “in-person” visiting experience. The live session drew in over 1.4 million viewers and several accessories on display were reportedly sold out within an hour.
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