Touching the Elite Customers in Shenzhen: What Strategies Do Luxury and Outdoor Sports Brands Employ?

5月 10, 2024

Shenzhen, one of China’s most developed cities, is known for its intense, fast-paced lifestyle, which has also fostered a strong demand for stress relief through consumption. The city boasts a high density of high-income individuals, making it a favored spot not only for fashion luxury goods but also for high-end experiential consumption and social activities.

Through its unique urban atmosphere and the movements of sports, outdoor, and luxury brands, brings you the latest “Shenzhen Observations.”

In Shenzhen, Sports Are Not Just a Way of Life but Also a Way of Socializing

For the people of Shenzhen, sports are both a lifestyle and a method to socialize.

The city’s infrastructure provides fertile ground for Shenzhen’s sports culture, featuring numerous sports venues and parks. For example, Shenzhen Bay Park along the coast has a running track that stretches over 10 kilometers and is constantly frequented by runners and cyclists.

Under Armour at Shenzhen’s MixC World, the brand’s largest store in Southern China, features a striking large box structure that catches the eye from the street.

This flagship store serves as the “headquarters” for brand community activities. Its glass walls are covered with photos of community events and handwritten signatures of community members.

Under Armour at Shenzhen’s MixC World has long collaborated with nearby gyms, boxing gyms, and outdoor courts to organize a wide variety of community projects, such as boxing, curling, frisbee, archery, running, basketball, and more, including some niche sports that are currently popular.

Community activities are usually scheduled at night, attracting a diverse range of participants. Members can bring their families to join in after work.

The store’s second floor features an AI interaction zone, where store coaches use professional equipment to help users assess their bodies, determine which areas need strengthening, and recommend suitable types of exercise.

According to store staff, this store has accumulated about 400 community members, also attracting members from surrounding cities like Dongguan.

Earlier this year, DESCENTE KIDS opened its first theme concept store in Shenzhen Bay MixC, focusing primarily on children’s golf products. “Shenzhen’s weather is very suitable for golf, and there are many golf courses here. Although Shenzhen Bay MixC does not have a large flow of customers, the quality of its clientele is very high,” said a store employee.

Data from the Shenzhen Golf Association shows that in 2023, 8 public schools in Shenzhen offered golf sports classes and training, benefiting 137,000 students.

Shenzhen is home to the world’s largest golf club as recognized by the Guinness World Records – the Mission Hills Golf Club. It also hosts China’s first city-named world-class golf event – the Shenzhen International, and the country’s largest golf industry expo – the Shenzhen International Golf Sports Expo. In 2020, Shenzhen introduced a sports industry innovation and development policy, classifying golf as a Category I supported project.

DESCENTE has opened 9 direct-operated stores in Shenzhen, most located within the MixC complexes, typically opening two stores in a single complex (including children’s clothing stores, BLANC stores, etc.), as well as several golf course stores.

DESCENTE store at Shenzhen Bay MixC L3 and DESCENTE KIDS store at L4.

DESCENTE has created the “Action Home Club” community, linking local stores and golf courses in Shenzhen to organize activities.

For instance, in December last year, the DESCENTE BLANC store at Shenzhen MixC World held a “Woven Motion Lab” limited-time experience project, where multiple interactive experience devices were set up inside the store to showcase the performance of the brand’s ski products. Previously, a member offline competition was also held at the Shenzhen Yinxiu Golf Club.

Large Stores Are Opening en Masse, Sports and Outdoor Brands Are Making a Push Into Shenzhen

Skiing is a core category for DESCENTE, although the sport is not suitable for Shenzhen’s climate. However, business travelers who frequently travel for work have a broad demand for winter outdoor products.

This scenario is also occurring at Canada Goose. In August last year, Canada Goose opened its first South China store in Shenzhen Bay MixC.

“The weather in Shenzhen is not suitable for its classic down jackets, but business travelers still need them,” said an employee at the Shenzhen Bay MixC store. According to the staff, Canada Goose’s outdoor rainwear products designed for southern weather are very popular in this store.

Many outdoor/sports brands have opened large and concept stores in Shenzhen.

In May last year, the Li-Ning Center flagship store opened in Shenzhen, a nearly 1,400-square-meter two-story store located on the ground floor of the Li-Ning Center Building (Li-Ning Group’s regional headquarters for South China, the Pearl River Delta, and the Greater Bay Area). This store also includes special experiences like Li-Ning Coffee and Li-Ning Basketball Park.

In April last year, ARC’TERYX opened a new two-story flagship store in Phase III of Shenzhen MixC, the first store of the brand’s new generation V4 image, and currently the largest in South China. In 2021, ARC’TERYX had already opened a two-story store in Shenzhen MixC.

In Shenzhen MixC, brands like Under Armour, Lululemon, ARC’TERYX, and Air Jordan all have street-facing double-layer positions.

In April last year, Shenzhen MixC also partnered with the local camping brand ampm to create a nomadic-themed campsite over 2,000 square meters in the plaza, involving over 20 outdoor retail and dining brands, offering a rich interactive experience.

According to data collected by the Luxe.CO Intelligence research team, from January 2023 to March 2024 (a total of 15 months), 26 outdoor/sports brands opened about 35 stores in Shenzhen (including new openings and reopenings); 40 outdoor/sports brands recorded 73 flash and community activity updates.

During this period, American sports brand SUPRA, Wilson, French military boot brand PALLADIUM, and Chinese outdoor brand KAILAS all opened their first stores in South China in Shenzhen.

Luxury Brands Gather for Afternoon Tea, Creating Exquisite Social Settings

Business professionals from high-tech enterprises and financial institutions are the main demographic in Shenzhen’s high-end commercial complexes.

During work hours, these malls are almost empty, but they see a peak in foot traffic around 4 to 5 PM after work, a pattern that holds true on both weekends and weekdays, as many of the elite business professionals in high-tech industries “do not have weekends.”

Many luxury brands have established distinctive lifestyle spaces in Shenzhen. The presence of an elite business clientele partly explains why there is a particular focus on creating cafes, tea rooms, and other social leisure spaces for luxury brands here.

Located in Luohu, Shenzhen MixC is the most comprehensive gathering place for luxury brands in Shenzhen. In January this year, SHANG XIA opened its first SHANG XIA 88 Tea Room at Shenzhen MixC in Luohu. The SHANG XIA 88 Tea Room is separate from the SHANG XIA clothing product line store and, besides offering tea space, prominently features home and furniture pieces.

Adjacent to SHANG XIA 88 Tea Room are The World of Ralph Lauren and Ralph Lauren Coffee. This is the fourth The World of Ralph Lauren in China, opened in March last year, and is the largest Ralph Lauren store in South China, showcasing the Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Ralph Lauren Home collection, and more.

In November last year, Gucci opened China’s first VIC Rooftop Garden within its boutique in Shenzhen MixC, Luohu. Located on the third-floor terrace of the store, this private garden is exclusively open to VIC clients.

In September last year, Prada‘s two-story boutique in Shenzhen MixC was renewed and reopened, featuring the PRADA HOME COLLECTION, including ceramic dinnerware such as plates and cutlery sets. It is one of the few Prada stores in the country to showcase the home collection.

Shenzhen Bay MixC is the second luxury hub in Shenzhen, located in the Nanshan District, known as the “Silicon Valley of China.”

A luxury brand store employee at Shenzhen Bay MixC noted that tech business professionals from Fortune 500 companies in the vicinity have a high awareness of luxury brands.

In November 2023, the Louis Vuitton store at Shenzhen Bay MixC reappeared after facade renovations.

Coffee and other pop-up events are also highlights at Shenzhen Bay MixC. Located near the seaside of Shenzhen Bay and adjacent to Shenzhen Talent Park, the open square features large-scale art installations and a coffee market, attracting many tourists and young people for photo opportunities.

Shenzhen Bay MixC houses Burberry‘s first social coffee cafe in Asia and the third Chanel private salon in mainland China. The stunning Maison Margiela Cafe pop-up space, opened in late 2022, remains memorable.

Last year, several luxury brands created impressive pop-up events at Shenzhen Bay MixC, such as the Louis Vuitton × Yayoi Kusama pop-up space in January, which covered the streets with polka dots; in February, LOEWE × Studio Ghibli created a “Howl’s Moving Castle”; and in December, Dior‘s “Big Gold Tree” maximized the Christmas atmosphere…

This past March, Shenzhen Bay MixC’s main thoroughfare was taken over by Gucci‘s “Gucci Ancora Gucci Encore Red” pop-up space, showcasing the brand’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection and a special art project in collaboration with the artistic director of the Shanghai Bund Art Museum, Zhu Xiaorui, along with “Gucci Coffee.”

| Image Credit: Luxeplace on-site photography, DESCENTE official Weibo, Shenzhen MixC official Weibo, Shenzhen Bay MixC official Weibo

| Editor: Zhu Ruoyu