Burberry’s better-than-expected trading update posted this week said that its improved outlook was based in large part on a mainland China sales rebound, thanks specifically to WeChat and e-commerce performance.
The British luxury brand reported that sales were up 4% globally for its fiscal first quarter with mainland China sales growth in the mid teens. It said that its China growth was boosted by tripling its WeChat reach thanks to an April 2017 influencer campaign promoting the DK88 bag. In addition, its investments in e-commerce have paid off with DTC online sales revenues more than doubling in China year-over-year.
Burberry ranked first in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury China report thanks to its digital strength across categories in China. The brand has invested heavily in WeChat as one of only 6% of Index Fashion brands to have a WeChat boutique. For its WeChat DK88 promotion in April 2017, it teamed up with Chinese key opinion leader (KOL) and handbag guru Mr. Bags to sell a limited-edition DK88 model exclusively in mainland China through WeChat.
Burberry has tapped into the power of both influencers and celebrities across digital platforms in China, recognizing that they can influence both buzz and sales. Mr. Bags had previously appeared in a promotional Miaopai video for Burberry’s second “see now, buy now” London Fashion Week show in February 2017 with brand ambassador and pop star Kris Wu.
Wu, sometimes called “China’s Justin Bieber” (both ultra-famous singers hail from Canada), has also featured extensively in Burberry’s China e-commerce promotions. He was enlisted to promote a limited-edition WeChat sale of the brand’s Bridle Bag for its first ever “see now, buy now” London Fashion Week show in September 2016. In November, Burberry launched the curated “Kris Wu Edit” collection available in-store, through DTC online sales, and on its official Tmall store.
Burberry’s presence on Tmall combined with its site and WeChat online shops make it a rare entity among Index Fashion brands: only 2% of them sell online through all three channels in China.