Big chill an upside for down jackets

2023-12-28 15:36:40China Daily Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

Shoppers check out goose down jackets at a Luxemporium department store in Beijing on Dec 2. (Photo/China Daily)

Amid the recent cold wave gripping many parts of China, down jacket consumption has surged, propelling the sector to grow and prosper, industry insiders said.

The domestic down clothing market has seen prices skyrocket in recent years. This winter, a goose down jacket from domestic brand Skypeople sells for a whopping 7,000 yuan ($979), sparking heated online discussions.

Bosideng, a major Chinese manufacturer of down jackets, has led the premiumization trend for years, with an average price of more than 6,000 yuan for its hiking series outerwear this year.

Linda Yuan, a Beijing resident, bought a Bosideng down jacket for her husband for 2,800 yuan this month.

"The down jacket uses goose down as filler. These days the lightness and fast warming features are essential in selecting winter wear," Yuan said.

The sector's high-end category — goose down jackets — continues to expand in the overall down jacket market.

The growth is boosted by continual rises in disposable incomes, evolving consumer preferences and heightened quality expectations among Chinese consumers, said a report jointly released by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, fashion magazine Vogue Business, and domestic high-end goose down clothing brand Guvet, in December.

The proportion of goose down clothing in total sales of related apparel in 2022 and 2023 has grown from 8 percent to 18 percent, a robust engine for the sector, according to a report by Douyin, a short-video sharing platform.

The growth of the down jacket market is faster than the overall clothing industry. According to the China National Garment Association, the down jacket market size reached about 169.2 billion yuan in 2022.

Douyin said the down jacket market grew 34 percent year-on-year this year, with the growth rate of products priced over 800 yuan significantly higher than the overall down jacket market, reaching 70 percent.

Capitalizing on the upscaling trend, Guvet has become the top seller on Douyin and is actively expanding offline.

On Douyin, Guvet said it led market share reaching nearly 28 percent within the 1,500-2,999 yuan price range for medium and high-end goose down clothing. Its Black Pearl series, priced above 2,000 yuan, was atop the platform's sales. Guvet also dominates the 3,000 yuan market range, covering 18 percent of the market share on Douyin.

Wu Kunming, founder of Guvet, said its brand is aimed at higher-income women aged 30 to 40 who prioritize quality and services.

On Douyin, its product price per purchase has been raised from 1,700 to 3,000 yuan this year, with more than 30 percent being repeat-purchase customers, Wu said.

This month, the company opened its first offline pop-up store at Luxemporium, a fashion unit of retailing giant Wangfujing Group, in Beijing.

It plans to have more stores in Jinan, Shandong province; Chengdu, Sichuan province; and Shanghai in collaboration with Luxemporium.

In recent years, the surge in outdoor sports as a popular leisure activity among young people has also contributed to the rapid growth of the down jacket market.

In the first three quarters, sales of down jackets reported a year-on-year increase of around 697 percent.

The winter apparel market is highly competitive, featuring international luxury down jacket brands like Moncler and Canada Goose, domestic players including Bosideng and Yaya, sportswear brands such as Descente, The North Face and Nike, and fast fashion brands such as Zara and Uniqlo.

Younger consumers in China nowadays have wider access to information, a better understanding of quality and increased cultural awareness, and are no longer solely seeking lower-priced products.

Instead, "they want good products," said Wu.

"The focus on product, values and experience is crucial to success amid competition in the down jacket market in China," he added.


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