In the Bag: Louis Vuitton Partners with XiaoHongShu
By Ally Feiam| 13 May 2019
French fashion house, Louis Vuitton, is the first luxury label to partner with XiaoHongShu, one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms.
Also known as “RED”, XiaoHongShu is a social media and e-commerce platform. Most of its users are female and in the Gen Z and millennial age-range, and allows users to share product reviews, lifestyle stories and travel blogs, via photos and short videos. XiaoHongShu also owns RED Mall, enabling Chinese consumers to purchase luxury items from overseas.
Established in 2013, XiaoHongShu currently has more than 200 million users, making it one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, as well as China’s most downloaded app. According to WWD, it’s expected to double its revenue to USD$2.9 billion by 2020 after raising USD$300 million in its Series D funding in 2018.
Louis Vuitton is the first luxury brand to partner with the social media platform and has launched its official account in celebration. The French fashion house posted six images and one video, which has amassed over 10,000 followers and 19,000 likes. The content featured a Chinese handbag influencer, Tao Liang, who’s also known as Mr Bags, alongside others. Liang was featured talking about the Louis Vuitton New Wave Chain Pochette, “XiaoHongShu was mainly about beauty trends at the beginning, but now it covers all aspects of life. Luxury has definitely become a very important component to it. Getting on with XiaoHongShu is a wise step for Louis Vuitton” explained Liang.
At this current time, only five per cent of luxury brands have a presence on RED, but 44 per cent of beauty brands have an official account on the app. The e-commerce platform stands as a Chinese equivalent to Instagram and Pinterest, allowing consumers to buy products from overseas and order products directly from the app. XiaoHongShu and Louis Vuitton aim to target a whole new range of consumers, Gen Z and Millennials mainly. Unlike its competitors, Weibo and WeChat, XiaoHongShu presents a playful and laidback approach to social media and e-commerce. Much like other e-commerce platforms, it offers authentic and user-generated reviews and posts.
According to XiaoHongShu spokespeople, the app generates more sales for ‘hard to find’ products in a single day online than the equivalent of a month’s worth of sales on a traditional e-commerce platform. With personalised recommendations from AI and manual observations, XiaoHongShu has been named one of China’s most trusted e-commerce platforms for young people.
Despite many foreign bricks-and-mortar stores closing in China, the demand for e-commerce platforms seems to thrive. Luxury labels are honing in on the middle-class market and have lowered their prices ‘between three to five per cent’, according to Louis Vuitton’s parent company, LVMH. LVMH’s Chief Executive, Bernard Arnault said that China is a ‘very dynamic’ market and that sales from Louis Vuitton are ‘doing well’.
27-year-old, Huang Yue, who runs the ‘fashion section’ of the website ‘Loving Luxury’ explained: “Some of these youngsters, even when they don’t really have enough funds, they’re still going out and buying luxury products.” There has been a spur in the market for luxury ‘streetwear’ and athletic attire, which is often noted as a cheaper option for those who wish to wear the designer labels.
The partnership between Louis Vuitton and XiaoHongShu aims to open a dialogue about the luxury brand and attract further attention from younger potential shoppers. With its instant success, Louis Vuitton seems to have it in the bag.