In 2023, domestic brands that have always been labeled as “low-price” and “alternative” have frequently been on the hot search list due to their high prices. The reporter’s investigation found that in recent years, the intention of domestic brands to enter the high-end market has been very clear. In the past year, although domestic fashion brands have been striving to get rid of the “substitute” label, their high prices have frequently caused controversy: Lin Qingxuan’s 1,700 yuan perfume was questioned, and later, a domestic down jacket sold for 7,000 yuan was criticized. . Obviously, high price does not completely represent high-end, and high-end requires long-term brand value building.
Expensive ≠ high quality
Not satisfied with just “replacement”, many domestic brands are currently trying to enhance their brand power through rising prices. However, the price increases of some domestic brands have begun to make consumers complain.
In September 2023, due to the Li Jiaqi live broadcast incident, Huaxizi’s pricing trend in recent years was put into the spotlight. A set of eyebrow pencils with one formal set and two refills is priced at 79 yuan. Hua Xizi was criticized for the high price. Some netizens compared the prices per gram of eyebrow pencils of various beauty brands and found that the price per gram of Huaxizi eyebrow pencils was higher than that of some big-name beauty brands, causing consumers to gradually shift their attention to this new “expensive” domestic beauty brand. “The price per gram has increased. “The price of 1 gram of eyebrow pencil is higher than 1 gram of gold”, which makes people wonder what is so special about it and why it is so expensive.
Feiman, co-founder of Huaxizi, said why Chinese brands can only sell at cheap prices. Huaxizi wants to break the price ceiling. If it wants to produce products with high creativity, high technology and high investment, it must stay away from low-price competition.
Although Huaxizi is ambitious to embark on the road of mid-to-high-end products, compared with international beauty giants, Huaxizi still lacks technical competitiveness. The reporter checked in the company and found that Zhejiang Yige Enterprise Management Group Co., Ltd., the parent company of Huaxizi, has 143 valid patents, many of which are appearance patents, focusing on packaging boxes, powder boxes, etc.
In November 2023, Lin Qingxuan, a domestic skin care brand that specializes in camellia essential oil, launched a 75ml camellia perfume for 1,702 yuan, which is more expensive than some high-end perfume brands. Since Lin Qingxuan lacks the tradition of developing high-end perfumes, and has not yet been able to support such a high-premium brand image, consumers have asked “Will anyone really buy it?”
On January 4, a reporter saw in Lin Qingxuan’s official flagship store that the price of this perfume was 1,498 yuan, and it showed that 4 pieces had been sold.
Wen Yan, a consumer who is passionate about fragrance, told reporters: “For high-priced fragrances, brand image is also the premium, allowing consumers to perceive high-end lifestyles through products. But Lin Qingxuan’s brand and image cannot support it. The high pricing and the forced selling of high-end products at high prices are unacceptable.”
The reporter learned that in 2022, Li Ning’s R&D expenses accounted for 2.1%, which is far lower than the nearly 10% level of Adidas and Nike. During the same period, Li Ning’s sales expenses accounted for 28.35%, and was questioned by the outside world as “emphasis on marketing and light on R&D.” Li Ning, which uses “national trend” as its selling point, also needs to “tell” new stories.
Lai Yang, a member of the Expert Committee of the China Chamber of Commerce, told reporters that the improvement of any brand status and the added value generated are essentially the result of design and research and development. In recent years, many national fashion brands have improved in design, but they have shortcomings in research and development, and there is still a gap between quality control and international brands. This is a bottleneck for the rise of the brand. In addition, many national fashion brands are only promoted and marketed in the domestic market, and their degree of internationalization is insufficient. It is difficult to become a brand with global influence, and it is difficult to increase their added value. National fashion brands should go out to become world brands and become valuable brands recognized by international consumers. In this way, their status in the minds of domestic consumers will naturally be improved.
Tear off the “substitution” label
It is not difficult to see that high-endization obviously does not mean high prices. The key to high-endization is to allow consumers to build trust in the brand. It not only requires the brand to produce high-quality products, but also requires it to have more comprehensive capabilities, including cultivating core consumers. , continue to output values, etc.
In recent years, with the support of high-end strategy, the price of Bosideng down jackets has gradually increased. Dongxing Securities research report shows that Bosideng’s tag price averaged 1,000 yuan to 1,100 yuan in 2017, and will exceed 1,800 yuan in 2021, an increase of approximately 80% in four years. Bosideng has also attracted market attention due to its high pricing. In 2019, it launched a climbing series of products with a maximum price of 11,800 yuan, which was once on the hot search list.
Data from the China National Garment Association shows that between 2020 and 2022, the domestic down jacket market will grow by approximately 34.2%, and the growth rate of the Bosideng brand is higher than that of the broader market.
In addition to Bosideng, Chinese high-end goose down clothing brand Gao Fan has also established the Paris Goose Down Luxury Research Center, which brings together the world’s top luxury designers to break the traditional design paradigm and initiate multi-party creative research and development and cooperation. In terms of products, Gaofan directly cut off non-goose down products and did not make low-end lines. Currently, the price of its adult down jackets is mainly concentrated at 1,000 yuan.It costs ¥5,000, and focuses on technology and functionality, emphasizing its “luxury” quality in its promotional rhetoric.
The reporter learned that well-known down jacket brands such as Xuezhongfei and Yalu are entering the mid-to-high-end market. It is normal for down jackets to cost more than 1,000 yuan. The price of Xuezhongfei goose down obsidian series and fox fur collar series down jackets before coupons exceeds 3,000 yuan. Even Yaya, which has risen to prominence for the second time through social e-commerce in recent years, has launched a co-branded model with a listing price of nearly 6,000 yuan.
Lai Yang believes that many domestic brands need to change their concepts in marketing. They cannot just use the banner of “national trend” in the domestic market and use consumers’ identification with Chinese culture to make purchases, but they must take an international route and strive to Winning the favor of consumers around the world to increase brand value. “Currently, national fashion brands are mainly targeted at domestic consumers and do not generate brand premiums. Once prices increase, some consumers will naturally be dissatisfied and disapproved of,” Lai Yang said.
Improving product capabilities is the way to go
Hong Yong, associate researcher at the E-Commerce Research Institute of the Ministry of Commerce Research Institute, told reporters that domestic brands need to focus on technological innovation and brand premium to compete in terms of product power. Technological innovation is the key to improving product quality and performance. It requires continuous investment in research and development to improve the level of production processes and materials. Brand premium is to build consumer awareness and trust in the brand through brand marketing, services, etc., thereby increasing The added value and price of the product.
In the high-end field that has long been monopolized by international brands, domestic brands are working hard to narrow the gap. In terms of product strength, increasing investment in research and development has become a unanimous choice for domestic brands. The 2022 R&D expenses of domestic beauty companies such as Bloomage Biotech and Winona’s parent company Bettany will account for 6.1% and 5.1% respectively, exceeding L’Oréal Group’s 3% and Estee Lauder Group’s 1.73% in the same period.
Yixian E-commerce, the parent company of Perfect Diary, which was once accused of being “marketing heavy”, has also begun to increase investment in research and development in recent years. In 2021, Yixian e-commerce’s R&D expenses have exceeded 140 million yuan; in the first three quarters of 2022, Yixian e-commerce’s R&D investment has exceeded 130 million yuan, with R&D expenses accounting for 3.4%.
Hong Yong believes that changing consumers’ inherent impression of affordable labels requires brand operators to do a good job in publicity and marketing in terms of brand image, quality assurance, service experience, etc. Brands should emphasize their uniqueness, innovation and strength, while providing High-quality products and services make consumers more trustful and recognize the value of the brand.
In the context of high-endization, how will domestic fashion brands face new challenges and opportunities in the future, and how will they change consumers’ inherent impression of affordable prices for domestic brands? Hong Yong said that the opportunity lies in the growth of the high-end market, which will provide more development opportunities for domestic brands. Brands can build a high-end brand image and expand high-end market share by improving product quality and strengthening brand marketing; the challenge lies in the competition in the high-end market. In the fierce competition, brands need to improve product quality while grasping market trends, targeting target consumer groups, and continuously increasing their brand awareness and influence. In addition, domestic brands must maintain sensitivity and response speed to market demand and continuously improve their core competitiveness when facing competitive pressure from domestic and foreign brands.
Brand expert Xie Xiaowen told reporters that if domestic brands want to stand out in fierce competition, they must focus on product quality, innovative design and user experience. Only by continuously optimizing product performance, improving quality standards and paying attention to user needs can they create truly competitive products. Powerful quality products. “High-endization usually means higher prices, and domestic brands need to carefully formulate pricing strategies to balance the relationship between price and quality.” Xie Xiaowen said.