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Management |ANALYSIS

Louis Vuitton’s rebound in China goes online with new local e-commerce site

By Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez

Jul 22, 2017

Louis Vuitton has launched an e-commerce service in China, seeking to tap on a rebound in the world’s largest luxury-goods market. This move is posed to disrupt the market, as the profitable Chinese e-commerce market has been traditionally dominated by local Internet giants such as Alibaba or JD.com.

As revealed Friday by the French luxury label, the new site will let customers buy Louis Vuitton leather goods, shoes, accessories, watches, jewellery, luggage and perfume.

The site, the 11th ecommerce site for Louis Vuitton since its first launched in France in 2005, will cover 12 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, and extend its scope in the coming months.

Over the past months, LVMH has been overhauling its digital strategy, notably so when it introduced in May a new multi-brand retail site called 24Sevres.com to compete against the likes of Yoox-Net-a-Porter and Farfetch.

Louis Vuitton’s online foray adds to Gucci and Farfetch’s bid for the Chinese e-commerce

Louis Vuitton has been present in the country since 1992, when it opened its first store in Beijing. Now, in a calculated move to conquer the buoying Chinese e-commerce space, Louis Vuitton will enable customers to pay using the latest payments methods, including UnionPay, Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat.

After a slowdown driven by the country’s government’s efforts to put an end to bribery and corruption, China has recently been driving a rebound in luxury sales. Testament to that rebound are the strong sales reported by LVMH, Hermes International, Kering SA amongst others this year.

While China has fuelled the fashion industry’s e-commerce growth, the market has been to date dominated by local players, namely Alibaba and JD.com. As a consequence, online luxury sales in China have been slower to develop as brands seek to maintain exclusivity.

Louis Vuitton’s strategy is expected to contribute to the already competitive scenario, with the recent JD.com’s 397 million investment in London-based online fashion retailer Farfetch and Gucci’s launch of its own Chinese e-commerce site this month.

Image:Louis Vuitton China