Just like in the West, in China bridal boutiques are a point of reference to consider for nuptial clothing brands wanting to win market share in this area. Agreements with these stores, points of reference for Chinese brides who may use up to five different dresses for their wedding day, translate to business opportunities for brands who manage to establish trusting quality relationships. These establishments set the rules of the game.
Wedding planner: valued profession
On most occasions, the Chinese bride chooses her dress following advice from friends, family and also her wedding planner, usually making between 4 and 5 trips to the boutique from choosing the dress to picking it up. This process typically takes about six months.
But this is not the only prescription for nuptial fashion. Regarding the choice of dress, some women will follow instructions from the venue chosen for the celebration. In China, unlike Japan, these instructions are not binding, the bride may visit other establishments without any penalties.
Nevertheless, the figure of a professional planner is highly valued. Their reputation and hiring is on the rise, as the wedding celebration is of utmost importance to couples, whose main objective is to show happiness, social status, wealth and, ultimately, success. They usually make themselves known in various of the sector’s B2C fairs, where the main supply is wedding dresses and wedding planners themselves.
Weddingism is a renowned company in wedding and event planning. According to Nana Pan, the company’s CEO, they have organized over 1.000 weddings, for many of the country’s celebrities among their number. Besides, they have an impact in the media, a fact proven by involvement in television shows and even two movies.
Increase in sales
The season with the highest workload in high end bridal boutiques ranges from March to June and from September to November, also the period in which most weddings take place. This factor is brought about by weather -which is carefully considered- and the importance of the holiday period, celebrated during this time of year.
The average expense for the bride, including all outfits worn during the celebration, is around 6.500€, if they are rented -as is usual in Shanghai- and higher when it comes to purchases, a trend more established in Beijing.
Nowadays the sector is working on increasing sales with the objective of generating greater cost effectiveness. This objective is being accomplished by the hand of two main factors which have significantly accelerated the process: a tendency for Chinese brides to purchase two of the white dresses they wear at the ceremony to store them as a keepsake and also the acquisition of two evening dresses, to flaunt at subsequent events.
Boutiques and trends
Most stores are usually multibrand, focusing their strategy on offering a wide range of brands with few models for each one. They are normally large spaces, averaging 1.000 square meters and belonging to chains present in different cities and even provinces.
Top Bridal, founded in Shanghai in 2003, is one of the most important boutiques in China. They work with exclusive brands like Elie Saab, Marchesa, Yolancris, Pronovias or Lazaro. It is said that the status of the boutique will be determined by the prestige of the brands chosen. For the selection of foreign brands, Top Bridal assures the most important factors are their prestige and designs, which must adapt to the taste of the boutique’s clients.
The possibility of adapting different styles to the needs of their market and the product delivery times by foreign companies are elements that also influence the buyer’s decision to purchase.
The favorite models are Ball Gowns with a long train and, of course, a high neckline, in keeping with cultural norms. Other boutiques with international brands are Central Weddings, Designer Bridal Room, The Loft Bridal, Elysian Bridal, Le Soleil Bridal Closet, Trinity Bridal, Vivian Luk Atelier and DBR Weddings.
It is usual for a boutique to offer different ranges of products and prices to cater to a broader cross section of consumers.
Boutiques also have a wide range of dresses for guests, in lively colors and elegant patterns, that are often used again in other important events: company dinners, private birthday parties or Christmas celebrations, for example.
Lastly, boutiques in China offer a comprehensive service increasingly professionalized with collaborators either within the same store or in specialized ones pertaining to the same group. These professionals can advise on dresses and hairdressing or make-up alike, providing knowledge on colorimetry and knowledge of the body, with the aim of finding the product best suited to each bride.
1. Bridal boutiques are the key contacts for companies considering China as a country for their international expansion. These stores and wedding planners are the foremost prescribers of nuptial fashion in the country.
2. Nowadays there is an increase in sales for nuptial fashion brought about by an interest in keeping white dresses as a memento of the wedding and reusing evening dresses in subsequent events.
3. In a country where weddings reflect the family’s status, having a wedding planner is of utmost importance.