Chinese fashion brands lack digital innovation

Despite the vibrant luxury market in China – 70% of Chinese consumers search for luxury brands at least once a month – the brands’ online presence is nowhere near the global expectation.

First, only four Chinese-language fashion sites appear in first position in organic results on Baidu and So.com for brand term searches, and just two are first on Google HK. This comes at no surprise since only 37% of brands are engaging in paid search on Baidu, according to the latest L2 Digital IQ Index: China survey.

Aside from a lack of presence, Chinese fashion brand sites lack sophistication and suffer from poor translation: less than 40% of brands provide a dedicated customer service number, and just two labels offer a live chat function.

Technology localisation, furthermore, is also an issue: only two brands host their sites in China while less than a third adopt flash-alternative technology, making their average loading time 10 to 20 seconds per page. Some, like Balenciaga and Dolce & Gabbana, can even take more than 40 seconds to load.

On the social media front, 59% of fashion brands are present on at least two platforms, except for Chloé, Prada and Ralph Lauren – who are absent on all platforms. In 2012, Coach upped its social presence from one to seven platforms, including WeChat.

L2 Digital IQ Index: China looks at brands’ activity throughout their online sites, social media platforms, mobile apps and digital marketing strategies. It then ranks them into five categories depending on their scores, or IQ.