Chinese brands take on international labels in winter apparel pricing

Ding Yining
An intense controversy has erupted following a domestic brand's decision to attach a substantial price tag to their winter clothing, thereby aligning it with international brands.
Ding Yining

It may be reasonable for an international brand like Canada Goose to charge 7,000 yuan (US$986) for a winter outfit. However, an emerging Chinese brand is raising eyebrows by hiking the prices of its products.

There has been online debate after Skypeople, which was founded in 2022 in Beijing, slapped a hefty price tag on most of its products.

Some argue that premium functionality and design are completely normal for local players, citing Skypeople's claim that it targets the high-end market and provides goods ranging from 2,800 yuan to 7,000 yuan – over 10 times the average price of a down jacket in China.

"China is such a vast market that would allow enough space for products with different pricing levels, and everybody could find their ideal price level," remarked Weibo user Dong Ya.

Customers are becoming more sophisticated and have a voice in whether they choose a basic and reasonably priced down jacket or one with a premium style.

"It's fine for customers to save up for a winter jacket of solid quality that will endure for many years," net user Flying Free remarked on social platform Xiaohongshu.

After all, it is up to the customer to determine whether a winter jacket is worth every penny it claims to be, regardless of whether it is a domestic or international brand.

Chinese brands take on international labels in winter apparel pricing

Actually, Chinese-made down jackets have done well with customers favoring local design and high-tech functionality fabrics.

HK-listed and Shanghai-based Bosideng, China's largest down-clothing maker, has also been more focused on the high end of the market with most of its down jackets costing more than 1,000 yuan.

The firm announced earlier this week that both sales and earnings increased in the six months to September, with its flagship Bosideng brand attaining record high sales with a 25 percent annual growth and Snowflying, its mid-priced brand, also experiencing a 52.2 percent increase in sales.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, clothing and garment sales increased 12.8 percent year on year to 725.7 billion yuan in the first nine months.

According to the most recent data from the China Feather and Down Industrial Association, down jacket production is in full swing.

Leading home textile and apparel businesses such as Yaya, Mercury and Sidanda achieved record-breaking sales during the Singles Day shopping gala, which ended in early November.

A commentary in People's Daily Online suggested customers should take a more sensible and practical approach to the pricing of different brands and product categories.

Global labels still command a significantly higher premium than domestic apparel manufacturers.

"There may be a large price difference between different types of down jackets, and it all comes down to whether the product is truly worthy, and those with long-term commitment would eventually win devoted customers," it said.

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