Today, we released our first China Fashion Supplement, the third in a series of China-focused reports that serve as addenda to our most recent Digital IQ Index: China report. This installment benchmarks 27 global Fashion brands’ digital competence in China, looking at trends in the marketplace as well as best practices and brand case studies. Burberry, the top-ranked brand in our Digital IQ Index: Fashion study, makes a repeat appearance at No. 1 in this supplement, followed by Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Coach. Unlike in most of our rankings, there were no “Geniuses” in this study; the top four brands all registered Digital IQs of “Gifted.” The vast majority of brands (67 percent) ended up on the opposite end of the spectrum with “Feeble” titles, a skew that indicates just how much farther Fashion as an industry has to go, digitally, in China. The research in this supplement is based on more than 800 data points gathered from four primary dimensions: Site, Digital Marketing, Social Media and Mobile.
China’s largest mobile service provider, China Mobile, currently has 715 million subscribers, which is almost four times all U.S. providers’ subscribers combined, making it — and China — the virtual center of the mobile universe. Unlike in the U.S., where Apple controls close to 40 percent of the mobile market, Android controls a staggering 90 percent of China’s. Despite this, just three global Fashion brands offer an Android app, none of which are available in Chinese. Almost half of the 27 brands assessed have iPhone apps in China’s iTunes store, but due to scarcity of iPhones (though, admittedly, they are in the luxury-buying hands of the affluent), only Dior’s app has gained any traction with Chinese consumers. Less than one-quarter of brand sites are mobile-optimized, more than half are not m-compatible, and not a single one of the brands in this study currently offers a Chinese-language iPad app. In terms of m-commerce, only Burberry’s mobile site facilitates end-to-end conversion, though DvF and Valentino do allow mobile users to complete their transactions via their global sites.
One of the bright spots for some brands in this market this year has been the advent of online Chinese-language magazines. Dior launched its third issue of DiorMag, the first in simplified Chinese, in promotion for its 2012 Haute Couture collection. After lackluster engagement in its initial release, the French fashion house enlisted popular media personality Hung Huang to live-tweet the event on his Sina Weibo account with 4.5M followers, generating significantly more likes, shares and comments. Chanel has taken a similar road, prominently featuring actress and brand ambassador Zhou Xun on the pages of its global edition of Chanel News. Gucci looked to follow suit when it introduced a Chinese-language edition of its Gucci World blog last September but ended up shutting the site down without explanation shortly after going live.
For more insights and to view the full Fashion rankings, download an excerpt here. Also, be sure to check the blog throughout the coming weeks for additional, supplement-related posts.