International Marketing News: Chinese vs Western recession fashion trends, US and EU holiday shopping habits, Canadian omnichannel

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ClickThrough's international marketing maven, Alison Humphries, has pulled together the news that counts from around the world - from the difference between Chinese and Western fashion trends during a recession, to how holiday shopping looks post-pandemic.

International Marketing News: Chinese vs Western Recession Fashion Trends, US and EU Holiday Shopping Habits, Canadian Omnichannel

What's new, important and interesting in international marketing? This week we look at how fashion brands will approach the differing recession fashion trends between Chinese and Western consumers, the changing approach to holiday shopping in the US, holiday shopping behavioural traits amongst European consumers and a snapshot of Canadian consumer omnichannel buyer behaviour.


Recessions tend to lead fashion brands towards classic styling and solemn comfort according to Jing Daily's review of the fashion industry post 2008 economic crisis. However, while this theory applies in the Western Hemisphere, it does not currently appear to the case in China where people are embracing boldness, excess and style leading to a quandary for fashion brands as to whether they go bold to appeal to Chinese consumers or classic and timeless for the Westerners.

The “True Luxury Global Consumer Insight Survey” carried out by BCG in June showed that Western consumers currently prioritise traditional values like craftmanship and timeless qualities  or aesthetics whereas their Chinese counterparts favour extravagance, fun and excess. This clearly outlines the importance of understanding the changing motivations to purchase of your target audience to continue to grow sales and revenue.

China’s current desire for “loud” fashion is almost seen as culturally scandalous by the Western consumer. Brands like Hermès, Prada and Bottega Veneta have launched quiet luxury and understated collections to appeal to the Western consumer motivation to avoid flaunting conspicuous purchases where using terminology such as “slow,” “ethical,” or “sustainable” fashion appeals to the consumers’ distressed state of mind.

Differing perspectives are emerging of the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic with young Western consumers envisaging a collapse of system whereas 77% of Chinese respondents are anticipating  a rapid social recovery.

The filtering out of international socio-political discourses through the Great Fire Wall has resulted in higher consumer confidence in China with 16% of respondents to a recent survey indicating that they are questioning their consumption of luxury goods vs. 33% in France, the UK and the US.

Balancing China’s desire for extravagance and the West’s for discretion will be a huge challenge for luxury fashion brands. However, more than half of the world’s consumption of luxury products is forecasted to come from China by 2025, emphasising the importance of appealing to Chinese consumers. This could drive brands to focus on meeting the needs of Chinese consumers while neglecting the West resulting in a requirement to be more reactive and less creative.


eMarketer predict that the uptick in online shopping amongst US consumers during lock down will continue to grow into the holiday season. 71% of respondents to a daVinci Payments survey in May 2020 indicated that they would be doing more than half of their holiday shopping online.

This trend was particularly strong amongst millennials aged 26 to 38, while 6 in 10 respondents aged over 56 also plan to do more than half their holiday shopping online indicating that a wider demographic have become more comfortable with shopping online.

More than half the respondents to a Salesforce survey indicated they were more inclined to shop online over the holiday period compared with only 10%, who were less inclined.

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Mobile app and social shopping have also increased in popularity with 37% of Salesforce survey respondents being more inclined to shop through mcommerce and  22% for social media.

Click and collect and curbside pickup have seen a boom with forecasts rising from a 38.6% increase in click and collect e-commerce sales during the holiday season to 60.4% representing sales totalling $58.52 billion.  

Overall US retail sales are set to decrease by 10.5% with brick and mortar sales falling by 14%, but e-commerce set to grow by 18% YoY.



Think With Google investigate how post pandemic holiday season shopping could look; long shopping centre queues pre-Black Friday sunrise and last minute racing to stores for before Christmas day may be a thing of the of the past.


Neither Sweden nor the Netherlands implemented a full lockdown, yet consumers still stayed out of stores. A survey of consumers from Germany, Italy, France and Spain found that 24-39% of respondents, who would normally have shopped in store on Black Friday, will be favouring online shopping this year. This has made it more difficult for retailers to plan as they normally would and will instead, lend itself to businesses, who can respond the quickest.


Google’s 2020 Retail Planning Guide will help retailers to be better prepared for the holiday season. The question remains; how will people plan to shop this year?


Research and purchases will take a further shift online


Last year 48% of Danish consumers purchased online during the holiday season with 25% outlining that they will spend more time shopping online than they previously have, a trend which is highly likely to continue.


Agile strategies will help retailers to reach consumers where and when they feel comfortable


A recent stand out from a Google survey of consumers in various European countries was the importance of availability and local convenience with 56-74% of consumers planning to check online to confirm an item is in stock before going in store. “available near me” searches doubles globally YoY indicating the importance of ensuring accurate inventory information demonstrated through local inventory ads


31-65% of respondents from the same survey expressed a preference for shopping with local businesses emphasising the importance of providing the consumer with accurate product availability information, opening hours and health and safety policies using tools like local campaigns


Safety is paramount


The availability of curbside pick up and contactless purchases are likely to be a motivation to purchase in a store exemplified  by Google’s recent survey where 45% of French shoppers will expect to have the option to buy online and pickup in store or curbside. Google made it possible to emphasise curbside pickup in your ads.


People are increasingly opting to shop when they know it will be quieter with 62-80% of European survey respondents indicating that they will shop earlier to avoid crowds and 70-80% will consolidate their shopping to reduce the number of trips they make. Using Smart bidding with store visits will facilitate more effective optimisation for fluctuations in online and in-store visits.


A key takeaway is to provide people with the information they need and the experience they expect.





Think with Google outline how Canadian consumers will approach their return to stores. Google/Ipsos research shows that offering a smooth omnichannel buyer experience will be of the utmost experience. Here are a few stats for Canadian consumers to support this:


  • 69% are limiting their touch points in store
  • 65% will reduce in store browsing time
  • 58% research online for deals and promotions before going in store
  • 34% will check in store stock online preliminarily
  • 18% review online how busy the store will be
  • 56% think buying online and using click and collect/curbside pickup will be their preferred way to shop

If you would like to discuss any of the stories discussed in this roundup, get in touch with our international marketing experts today.

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