The fashion unit of Alibaba Group-owned B2C marketplace Tmall and Eurovet, the world’s leading organizer of trade shows for lingerie, swimwear and active brands, are teaming up to help industry players sell into China.
Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding in Paris on Saturday, pledging to “leverage the respective expertise and international reach to explore innovative ways to collaborate.” The partnership will also work to educate trade-show participants to better understand the unique characteristics and preferences of shoppers in the world’s second-largest consumer market.
Headquartered in Paris, Eurovet is the largest trade show company in the global undergarment and swimwear industry, with shows in its home city, New York and Las Vegas. It has had a presence in China for 15 years, and two shows are planned in Shanghai in late September and Hong Kong in March 2019.
“Together, our two companies will explore joint initiatives to accelerate the local and international underwear business and ultimately support companies and brands accessing and thriving in the Chinese market,” said Anita Lu, vice president of Tmall Fashion.
With the expansion of China’s middle class and its growth in purchasing power, analysts say many of the country’s consumers, especially women, are getting choosier about their undergarments. Instead of seeing bras and underwear as just functional pieces, women are buying them to feel both comfortable and sexy. According to Euromonitor, China’s retail undergarment market is likely to reach $33 billion by 2020, an estimated 32% jump from 2017.
Chinese consumers growing love affairs with high-end bras and panties have also stoked global brands such as Victoria’s Secret, La Perla, Maidenform, Wolford, Aubade, and Zimmerli to open their own Tmall flagship stores in recent years.
“At the end of the day, lingerie is more than an outfit. It’s a way to express inner desire,” Lu said. “The younger generations of Chinese women, in particular, are looking to be more independent and free in their choices and lingerie is a good way for them to express themselves but also to take care of their body.”
The Tmall Fashion-Eurovet partnership will also allow trade-show participants to harness Tmall’s insights to better engage with Chinese consumers, streamline the shipping and logistic process, improve supply-chain management and communicate with their local partners, said both companies. This know-how will better empower foreign brands to run a smoother and more efficient operation in China, they said.