Brands / Consumers

Bags of potential – Longchamp shows value in new launches

The 11.11 festival became popular among shoppers for its deep discounts, but it’s also become the best time of the year to get the hottest new-release products, with many brands now creating items specifically for launch at the event.

French luxury brand Longchamp, known for its Le Pliage handbags that fold into a pocket-size rectangle, has launched a new rendition of the classic bag just for Chinese consumers during the current 11.11 festival. 

Special-edition, embroidered Le Pliage bags have been offered exclusively on Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion, a platform dedicated to luxury brands. Longchamp has also offered a limited number of handbags only previously available in its official shops in Paris, to attract Chinese high-end shoppers who can’t travel to Europe due to current pandemic restrictions.

Longchamp General Manager of China Josephine Liang said exclusivity was a way of engaging shoppers looking for excitement beyond discounts.

“Though we don’t offer promotions or discounted rates outside of our usual schedule, 11.11 for us is an opportunity to engage and surprise shoppers with special products, and particularly to reach the customers who truly appreciate and love our brand,” she said. 

“We’ve prepared specially designed bags that come in our most popular color – hawthorn – and they are not launched anywhere else. These were designed for Chinese consumers and only available for Alibaba’s 11.11. 

“Another exclusive product we are offering is the Eiffel Tower bag. This was previously only available in our official stores in Paris. We’ve secured a good amount of these limited-edition, city-themed handbags for Chinese consumers who cannot travel to Europe this year due to the pandemic.”

Liang said shoppers on the Tmall Luxury Pavilion were not just looking for the less expensive items on offer. 

“They are increasingly eyeing upscale items. They have the spending power. All they need is for the brand to showcase and explain the products. We’d show them the quality of our leather used in our men’s and women’s handbags and accessories, and they are willing to buy. We now have a fast-growing percentage of leather customers in addition to customers of our nylon lines.”

Liang is bullish about the future of luxury in China. 

“It has been a challenging and extraordinary year, but also it has also been an encouraging year for the Chinese market,” she said. 

“China was the first market to be hit by the pandemic and to go under strict lockdowns, but it was also the first to recover and grow even further. Of course, we still need to remain prudent, cautious and even sharper than before in the face of uncertainties following the pandemic. And I truly believe online digitalization will be the key driver of growth and play an even bigger role in the next few years.”