Sportswear giant Adidas this week became the latest international brand to leverage Alibaba Group-owned Tmall, China’s leading B2C marketplace, for the global launch of its newest product.
The exclusive release of Adidas’ latest line of running shoes – UltraBoost 19 – on Tmall underscores the brand’s recognition of the platform’s influence and extensive reach in the Chinese market.
“Digital and e-commerce is one of Adidas’ strategic priorities. This is why we look to cooperate with Tmall, the global e-commerce giant in helping us achieve that vision,” said Marc LeRoux, vice-president of marketing for Adidas. “Through this partnership with Tmall, we will be able to better understand our consumers so we can bring the best product, brand experience and service to our consumers.”
Adidas, which opened a flagship store on Tmall nine years ago, has exclusively launched an array of products in China via the platform, all with noteworthy results. Last September, over 70,000 pairs of the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Triple Whites sold in nine hours.
More Than Just Sales
Over the years, Tmall has become the preferred e-commerce platform for brands to debut their products in China. In 2018, more than 50 million units of new products were launched on Tmall –13 times more than in 2016.
“But beyond sales figures, we are more interested in helping brands increase their engagement with consumers and how Tmall can enable Adidas to generate new growth momentum,” said Liu Bo, president of Tmall Marketing.
“Our goal is to turn sports lovers in China into fans and followers of Adidas,” Liu said.
Sportswear and sports gear are top-selling items among young Chinese shoppers who are adopting a healthier and more-active lifestyle, according to Tmall. Tmall data show that over 200 million people, mostly under 30, have purchased sports-related items from the platform, and the number is set to increase.
Running is one of the most popular sports in the world and China has caught the running fever. According to the Chinese Athletics Association the country hosted 22 road running races in 2012, but the number shot up nearly 15 times to 328 in 2017. The number of runners doubled within two years, from 1.3 million in 2015, to 2.8 million in 2019
“With China having more runners than anywhere else in the world, we treat this market with utmost importance, and this is why we chose China to hold the premier of the UltraBoost 19,” LeRoux said.
Adidas on Thursday also announced it would join a dozen other international brands by leveraging the Alibaba Business Operating System, a customized bundle of services that Alibaba offers to brands to accelerate their digital transformation in China.
The enhanced cooperation will include opening smart brick-and-mortar stores, digital sales clerks who can make personalized product suggestions online and smart inventory management, among other New Retail features. The brand also plans to open an Adidas Originals flagship store on Tmall in April.
“In fulfilling our ambition of bringing the best products, services and experiences to our consumers, we also look for partners who can do the same,” said Colin Currie, managing director of Adidas in the Greater China Region.
“Tmall has a goal to help brands achieve digitization worldwide, which coincides with one of the development strategies of Adidas in China,” he said.