Overview Of China fashion industry

The Chinese economy continues its dynamic performance, averaging around 10% growth for the last 5 years. As barriers to entry are reduced, more and more businesses are considering their entry into China. This is in an effort to capture some percentage of the returns generated by China’s 1.3 billion consumers.

This series of reports is intended to provide fashion retailers, who are planning to enter China for the first time, with an overview of the Chinese fashion industry. In addition, the reports act as a quick update for companies who have already entered China as it touches on the industry, trends, brands available, wholesale and retail pricing, type of clothing cutting preferred, consumer behavior and updated regulations. A key challenge when entering China is the different regions in China. Consumer behaviour and preferences for food, fashion and lifestyle vary dramatically in these regions. For example, retailers should not assume that products or Fashion styles that sell in Shanghai will also be popular in Xiamen which is in southern China.

The series of reports includes:

Report 1 Overview of China Fashion Industry

Report 2 Regulations: an overview of the regulatory environment in China

Report 3 Regional Analysis: Analysis of the key regions in China from a retail perspective

Report 4 Women’s Fashion and Consumer Behaviour

Report 5 Teen’s Fashion and Consumer Behaviour

Report 6 Children’s Fashion and Consumer Behaviour

Report 7 Men’s Fashion and Consumer Behaviour

Report 8 Recommendations

Economic Conditions in China

China’s economy grew by 10.2% in 2005 and 10.7% in 2006 making it the fastest growing major economy in the world. It is forecasted by the banks (Quarterly Bank reports) that GDP would drop to 8% in China in 2007. (Goldman Sachs), though in our opinion GDP rate may be higher due to increased production and consumption. In 2006 China’s urban living expenditure increased at a higher rate than GDP, both on a national as well as provincial basis. Despite strong growth, inflation remains moderate with monthly inflation averaging 1.3% year on year from January to September 2006. It is forecasted that annual growth in consumer prices will reach 1.8% in the early 2007. This is because higher land prices would impact production costs. Increased investment would in turn feed inflationary pressures.

The government’s tolerance of greater Yuan volatility and the higher GDP has caused expectations of further exchange rate reform, which would result in faster currency appreciation. The potential impact would be that foreign clothing brands would find that their prices could be more readily accepted in the Chinese market.

Retail Industry in China

Increasing income in China and Government efforts in encouraging consumer expenditure have resulted in rising domestic consumption. Statistics show that total retails sales of consumer goods increased by 12.5% to RMB 6,718 billion in 2005. However, it drops slightly to approximately RMB 6,400 billion (US$770b) in 2006. One of the factors is the import quota imposed by US and European Union in 2006 (O&L). However, with the increase in income and domestic consumption, it is expected that the growth rate of retail sales can be maintained at about 10% in the next 5 years (O&L projection & Goldman Sachs Global Investment Report)

China’s clothing market has been growing at 7% and is now a USD40 billion industry. Department stores account for approximately 40% of the market. This includes stores like Parkson, Shanghai Bailian and foreign brands like Wal-Mart. Clothing brands sold in these department stores include both international brands like Hugo Boss and local brands like Li Ning, Borne, Joe One. Franchise chains and local individual clothing outlets in China account for the other 60% share.

Profit Margins for retail chains in China are high. Due to the lower costs of manufacturing in China, profit margins by these Clothing brands can be as high as 50.5% for brands like Giordano (2005) and Ports(70.4% in 2005) . The cities of influence for fashion in China are Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. In addition locals and tourists travel to Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen for major fashion brands at cheaper prices. For manufacturing, there are different specialty regions. For example, Ningbo is more famous for manufacturing of bags while Guangdong especially Guangzhou is more famous for apparels.

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