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How Havaianas plans to position brand in Asia as it invests US$50m to expand regional footprint

How Havaianas plans to position brand in Asia as it invests US$50m to expand regional footprint

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Brazilian footwear brand Havaianas' mother company, Alpargatas, will be investing more than US$50 million by 2024 to boost its presence in APAC and China. Havaianas’ main focus will be on building an aspirational, joyful and colorful brand, developing online sales as well as expanding its retail footprint in Southeast Asia with permanent locations and with some pop-up stores in trend-oriented locations in China and North Asia. These will be mostly operated by exclusive distributors and partners. 

In a statement to Marketing, a spokesperson said the expansion will be both online and offline. Physical stores, pop-ups, and digital flagship will be launched over the next 12 months across 13 countries in APAC, the spokesperson added. When asked about the brand's marketing strategies, the spokesperson said it will have a heavier investment on digital marketing. Havaianas will also be focusing on product innovation and collaboration, local and urban context, as well as partnership with local influencers. The spokesperson declined to comment how much of its US$50 million investment will be used for marketing.

Robert Esser, president, Havaianas APAC said while its biggest markets are Australia and Philippines, its biggest potential markets are Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and China. Esser added that it now plans to reach more local consumers and deliver a change in the way they perceive and wear flip-flops. "Havaianas wants to enchant Asian consumers and build strong emotional connection and affective memory, occupying a unique space where attributes like functionality, style and accessibility meet," Esser added.

Additionally, Havaianas APAC will be continuing its digital acceleration process. According to Esser, during COVID-19 when stores were closed in most of the APAC countries, Havaianas invested disproportionally behind digital media to maximise its brand visibility. It also set up stronger social commerce platforms and build a relevant influencer strategy with local brand ambassadors, such as Luna Maya in Indonesia or Nelydia Nik Sen in Malaysia. Esser added that these strategies delivered promising results with online business growing three times in Q1 2020 as compared to 2019, and six times in the month of April.

Meanwhile, its Hong Kong office will continue to serve as its APAC headquarters. Since setting up its APAC office in Hong Kong in 2018, Alparagatas has opened more than 100 stores across Asia, according to the brand. This includes flagship outlets in Philippines, Indonesia and Australia. “APAC is diverse but consumers are looking for authenticity, high quality and fashionable products so Havaianas can be perfect for them,” Esser said.

Earlier last week, Havaianas revamped its storefront on Chinese eCommerce site Tmall to showcase a more lively vibe. The campaign “Let’s summer!” aimed to improve the overall user experience and the look and feel of the store, including localised global campaign creatives and messages to ensure relevance with Chinese consumers. 

“The business strategy was to look at the full customer decision journey, identify areas for improvement, and make optimisations to ensure we are reaching the right consumers with relevant messages and creatives, to ultimately create a seamless user experience from start to finish,” said Danielle Panissa, brand director of APAC and China at Havaianas.

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