In the last interview carried out a few months ago with Christina Fontana, Head of Fashion and Luxury Europe at Alibaba, we spoke about the Chinese consumer in the digital luxury era and opportunities for Italian luxury companies. «We have been collaborating for years with top luxury brands from all over the world, many of which are already on our Tmall B2C platform and we have interacted with them to understand their worries and their needs. This is why we launched the Tmall Luxury Pavillion in 2017, an app within Tmall exclusively for luxury brands that ensures them maximum control of their brand image and customer experience. Since the end of 2018, the luxury brands on Luxury Pavilion (more than 110) have also had the chance to select the new store format, called Maison, which allows them to personalize the digital editorial content and their Luxury Pavilion window to totally respect not only their brand image but also their tone of voice and heritage and to offer access to Alibaba’s most recent technologies, such as 3D pop-up shops. When we speak of China, we have to remember that Chinese consumers are “mobile first”. According to market estimations, on-line purchases made on cell phones will represent 74% of China’s total e-commerce by 2020. On Alibaba platforms, transactions generated on mobile devices count for about 90%. Moreover, 65% of cell phone users in China use their smartphones as a wallet and many consumers take their smartphones directly in hand without even connecting to a website». Last January it was Cartier’s turn to join the already rich arena of luxury brands on the Tmall Luxury platform, the Richemont Group’s first brand to open a bona fide virtual flagship store with almost all its jewelry collection, watches and accessories, and a preview of the new Juste un Clou model (not forgetting that, in September, the Chinese giant had signed a joint venture with Ynap Group). «Alibaba is making efforts to further strengthen the value of brands. In today’s luxury panorama, interacting with Gen Z consumers as well as the more classic customers, is of crucial importance and providing them with a personalized experience, is a fundamental step towards growth for luxury brands. Therefore, Cartier’s main boutique on Tmall will adopt the new Tmall Flagship Store 2.0 model, offering a brand experience in line with its consumer target. From now on, we will be helping Cartier to use Alibaba’s company operative system to the best advantage in order to further improve its digital strategy», said Mr. Mike Hu, General Manager of Tmall Fashion, Luxury and FMCG. And while the big luxury brand industry is elaborating new strategies and adopting new tools to face the post-Covid scene, the latest news of a few days ago informs us that the Alibaba Group has activated an operation to expand the Tmall Global platform to help SMEs get onto the Chinese market. The operation aims to put 1,000 new international small and medium enterprises onto the e-commerce platform over the next 12 months. An incubation plan that adds a series of tools, incentives and campaigns to the current model so that small brands can also blossom on the Chinese market. «We have witnessed an ever-increasing number of brands choose Tmall Global as their preferred platform to introduce themselves to the Chinese market. These brands immediately recognize the value of the digital analysis we provide in order to better understand Chinese consumer tastes, develop strategies in line with their on-line businesses and even to strengthen their off-line business», said Alvin Liu, President of Tmall Import and Export. For new Tmall Global brands – registered in the last 12 months – the incubation center will act as a free bridge to sales on the Chinese market. Tmall represents 62.4% of the Chinese market with a value of US$ 222 billion. According to Tmall Global, to date, over 25,000 brands from 92 countries and regions are operating on the platform and over 80% of them are entering the Chinese market for the first time. Launched in 2014, Tmall Global is an extension of Alibaba Group’s Tmall platform which manages Chinese consumers’ growing demand for international products and brands. It is the main platform through which international brands and retailers can reach Chinese consumers, acquire brand awareness and obtain valuable consumer information in order to be able to develop their strategy in China without the need to set up physical initiatives.

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