Margaret Wong

I am a Hong Kong-born Chinese.
I studied Japanese language & Management at the university.  Since graduation, I have been taking up jobs related to customer relationship with Japanese.  

There should have relatively significant differences between Mainland China and Japanese or even Hong Kong shoppers.  
For purchase of leather products, mainland customers are not so sophisticated.  They often lack confidence in picking own style and therefore follow closely fashion trend and product theme of world brands like LOUIS VUITTON, PRADA and Gucci ... etc.  They also have strong belief in “the highest the price, the best the quality is”.  Hong Kong and Japanese shoppers are however, more familiar with personal style.  They would select leather items in accordance with own character and lifestyle.
I get to know this from a female friend who operates specialty stores in Beijing for sale of leather handbags and accessories.  She had been an experienced Buyer at a prestigious department store and several high-end brands in Hong Kong.  She remembered an interesting incident that happened at her company.  
One day, a customer approached the sales lady and said, “I want to buy the most expensive item.  Please show it to me.” 
You might be surprised if you were on spot. 
In fact the daily long queues of tourists from China outside Flagship stores at Canton Road in Tsimshatsui are reflecting their strong purchasing power.


There is fast growing population of affluent class in China.  Similar to Hong Kong shoppers who love shopping at the International Finance Centre, Landmark, Pacific Place, etc, mainland Chinese do enjoy shopping at large shopping malls.

Quoting my friend’s case, her shops are located mostly at well-known shopping malls, namely China World Mall, Sanlitun Village, at Chaoyang District.  The China World Mall, being an integral part of China World Trade Center, was among the first in the city of Beijing to introduce the "Shopping Mall" concept.  International renowned labels such as LOUIS VUITTON, Hermès, BVLGARI and Fendi compete to open luxury Flagship stores there.
Sanlitun Entertainment Area, used to be a small street with bars, has turned into wide area of bars and other entertainments.  It continues to be popular with foreign expatriates and tourists alike along with a whole crowd of Chinese affluent trendy people who either come to mix with them or just to look cool and relax.  The Sanlitun Village delivers a fresh approach to shopping in Beijing combining shopping, leisure, arts & entertainment.

In Beijing, numerous foreign-invested shopping arcades are established.  These malls have attracted an impressive number of prestigious multinational corporations and global high-end retail stores.


Having prime location for the store, you still need to understand preferences, buying habits, etc. of these shoppers.  Following “Tips” might be helpful to you.    
Mainland shoppers are blind to fashion trend, but in general do not accept too aggressive style.
They  prefer leather products more in brown and black.  Large-sized handbags should be carried in wintertime while smaller bags are popular in Spring/Summer season. 
When choosing leather products, customers in China are yet to distinguish different leather type.  They often presume that heavy chemical leather without scratch looks perfect.  Alike one’s second skin, natural leather with natural scratch and various colours should be the inspired choice. 
Therefore you might need to think differently while during sourcing and product design.


High security is another concern.
They require handbags with proper closure, zippers and preferably long shoulder straps.  They love to carry them in the front or across the bodies.
This is likely the problem of frequent occurrences of pickpocket and robbery in China. 
The handbags with multi-functions are usually best-selling items.
For example, my friend has introduced a handbag with the detached small bag inside.  This small bag will be your perfect accessories if you suddenly need to join a night party.
The male market in China is preferred as the number of fashionable male customers is growing faster than female.  Male customers are stylish and more open-minded.  They are more open to accept new design concept especially among youngsters.  They look for quality leather products with simple design.
There seems to have so many distinctive characteristics for mainland shoppers, but in general they are still chasing world fashion trend.
Just takes time to get familiar with their preferences, customs and buying habits.  China market is surely the potential market among Asia countries. 

Margaret Wong

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