According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, 30 percent of one Chinese household’s daily expenditure is child-related consumption, of this; about 18 percent is on children’s apparel. This kidswear biz playground stretches far and wide.
Despite the current aging of the nation’s population, the growth of children’s apparel market in China is set to thrive in the coming years as the demand for children’s apparel is on the rise.
Recent marketing studies show that the overall children’s market in China is forecast to grow at an annual compound rate of 10.5 percent between 2018 and 2021.
This greedy market makes budding brands and parents alike feel like a kid in a sweetshop — not sweatshop.
Statistically Demographically Speaking
One 2019 children’s apparel market analysis as conducted by Hong Kong’s Daxue Consulting Agency reports:
“Even though the performance of the market is forecast to stabilize after high growth in recent years, the growth of the children’s apparel market in China is set to continue in coming years as the demand for kidswear is expected to increase due to the new policy of two children per couple.”
China’s population in 2014 for people aged zero to 15 accounted for 17.5 percent of the nation’s total population. With the 2016 announcement of the Chinese government about the renewed “two-child” policy, one would expect the percentage of the children in China, despite the current aging of the population, to grow.
Nevertheless, as the latter still proves slightly Bambi-wobbly anno 2020, we will not be taking this factor into consideration in this article. Or be getting into it, full stop. Shouldn’t even have mentioned it. Oh well.
Recent retail marketing studies do show that the comprehensive children’s market in China is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 10.5 percent between 2018 and 2021; a number considerably much higher than the global rate of 6.4 percent.
Traversing the entire children’s apparel market, baby- and toddler-wear appears to be slam-dunking it, with the growth of girls’ apparel exceeding the growth of boys’ apparel. Girls-wear overall bears considerably higher purchasing frequency and unit pricing than boys’ apparel.
Hip and happening urban rents across Chinese metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu, are– by the way — willing to spend more on their children. Upping the style stakes.
The Business of Trans-Generational Fashion
Mom, dad, and offspring share matching wardrobes: Trans-generational design is hotly sought-after in the East.
A standout designer example of kids apparel taking to the catwalks is that of Vicky Zhang (Xu Xinyin). Zhang in 2011 graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and is the founder and designer behind Vicky Zhang (VICKY’Z), one of China Fashion’s most famous family-themed brands.
Related (the 2017 OG)
Zhang became the first family-themed clothing designer brand to launch during China International Fashion Week and her brand VICKY’Z in September 2016 first created a show at New York Fashion Week consisting of fantasy gowns and family-themed looks, with an emphasis on “mommy/daddy and me” looks.
VICKY’Z in 2020 is going from strength to strength, successfully showcasing its SS20 “Beautiful Birds” collection in Beijing last November. The new three-dimensional tailoring and structural designs are bound to make any urban parent stand out during the school-run.
Another successful example in the trans-generational fashion biz is that of Hongkongese-Dutch designer Angelle Chang, founder of JOW kidswear. which positively and passionately celebrates body-image and -confidence in all its fabulous facets; sustainable and attainable for all. With keywords such as ageless, timeless, design, passion and sustainability, one ponders… Flaws: Socially excluding or fashionably exclusive? Feisty, either way.
The JOW brand was named after Chang’s four-year-old son Jowin who was born with schisis, better known as a cleft lip. Appearance-conscious as this can make you, and given the uninvited attention or stares a scar draws in, she wanted to give people something to really stare at… His “Little Rascals” rough-n-tough clothes. A brand was born.
JOW is all about being bold: Clothing, design and attitude alike, at any age, for both parents and kids. The designs come from a momma’s point of view, meaning they’re practical and playful. And showcase Chang’s Dutch-Chinese roots.
So far, so good. So… Matchy-matchy.
Social Media. At Your Kiddies’ Service!
Nowadays, social media has a huge impact on consumer purchasing decisions. This is especially the case in China since Chinese consumers generally engage more actively on social media platforms than other countries. China has the largest number of social media users in the world and the highest percentage of Internet users as active social media members.
China’s e-commerce market (No.1 for kidswear to this day is Tmall) in the past seven years has rapidly evolved, with mobile commerce growing into an ever-bigger part of the e-commerce realm. No.1 children’s apparel go-to still WeChat Mini Programs closely followed and perhaps soon to be overtaken by No.2 Douyin’s short, quirky brand videos.
Most kiddie apparel brands currently adopt a multi-channel retailing model: Brick and mortar, online stores and mobile apps all combined facilitate every need of different consumers. Having stated that, despite the increasing popularity of online channels, many Chinese parents still hold qualms about the quality of the clothes their treasured toddler puts on — thus online channels largely serve as a supplement of physical stores.
This combination of physical and digital is particularly relevant for the children’s apparel market as parents are inclined to buy children’s wear brands recommended by relatives and friends. Whereas retailers increasingly engage with consumers through social media, hoping to build positive word-of-mouth.
What can we say… It’s child’s play.
Or is it?