Mass-produced luxury brands such as: Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch and Calvin Klein appeal to the aspirational Chinese, thanks to American culture’s pull.
In China, American brands have been incredibly successful in owning category and new behaviors. Starbucks has created the coffee culture. Disney is the exemplar family destination. Apple still dominates premium consumer technology and Tesla has captured the imagination of China’s future-focused middle class.
As Chinese consumers increasingly use fashion and luxury to express their lifestyle and identity, American brands have a profound head start on other nationalities in terms of precedent and aspiration. Michael Kors’ revenue rose by double digits in China in the last quarter. Ralph Lauren is likewise seeing double-digit growth. PVH Corp, which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, was buoyed by a year-on-year increase in China sales in the 2017 financial year.
Some US fashion designers have benefited from the race by luxury e-commerce websites to build up their brand portfolios. China’s wannabe consumers, or those who are aspirational, would be the fastest-growing consumer segment by 2020.
Compared to European brands, US brands have their own advantages. European luxury brands have a long history, but most US brands are newer and not limited to intrinsic design elements.