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Miniso's American Dream: A look inside the new IP collection store and US expansion strategy

By Vivian Hendriksz


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Retail |Interview

Shoppers at the grand opening of Miniso's IP collection store in the American Dream Mall Credits: Miniso

Chinese lifestyle retailer Miniso is poised to take the United States by storm following the opening of its first IP collection flagship store in the iconic American Dream Mall, New Jersey, earlier this month. The new 4,000-square-foot store aims to build on the success of Minso's current retail offering in New York, including a Times Square pop-up and its flagship store in the same area, while solidifying the brand's growing presence in the US. As the brand sets its sights on becoming a leading global lifestyle, we speak with Tyrone Li, Miniso's US general manager, to learn more about Miniso's expansion strategy for the US, how the brand is leveraging its growth, and plans for the future.

Tyrone Li, US General Manager for Miniso Credits: Miniso

How does the new IP collection flagship store in the American Dream Mall in New Jersey fit into Miniso's broader global and US expansion plans?

Li: "Miniso underwent a global strategic brand upgrade last year, with the goal of becoming a world-renowned IP design retail group. The most crucial aspect is focusing on developing core strategic categories, particularly IP co-branded categories. Miniso has collaborated with nearly 100 globally renowned IP licensors to date, with the aim of achieving IP sales revenue accounting for over 50 percent of total revenue by the end of 2028.

To help us achieve these goals, Miniso is launching IP collection stores in various markets globally, integrating IP elements into store designs to offer consumers a more enjoyable IP shopping experience. For example, the first IP collection store in Malaysia opened in March with Barbie design elements, and the recent pop-up store in Times Square offered shoppers in the US a fun IP design pop-up experience. The new flagship IP collection store at the American Dream mall in New Jersey marks the first official implementation of this store format in the US, representing a significant milestone and an exciting beginning for Miniso's global IP strategy in the American market."

With Miniso now operating 120 stores across 20 states, what are the next key cities or regions in the US that you are targeting for expansion, and why?

Li: "In line with Miniso's global brand upgrade strategy released in 2023, we are actively exploring our "super store" strategy, opening more stores with a larger space in prime locations within core business districts, like the American Dream Mall. These selected locations are conducive to enhancing the brand's momentum, with high foot traffic that can generate higher sales for us.

We will continue expanding in existing cities and add stores in more inland states such as Ohio, Tennessee, Colorado, and Utah. We aim to bring Miniso to more cities across the US, allowing consumers in their communities to access Miniso's aesthetic, fun, and affordable products to bring more joy to their lives."

Miniso's new IP Collection Store at the New Jersey American Dream Mall Credits: Miniso

How do Miniso's IP collaborations, such as those with Sanrio, Snoopy, Barbie, and Care Bears, contribute to the brand's identity and customer appeal in the US retail market?

Li: "In the face of global shifts and emerging trends, relying solely on cost advantage is no longer enough when adapting to the new competitive landscape. We need to engage in global competition on two fronts: Cost advantage and product differentiation. Miniso's global consumer base primarily consists of young people, particularly Gen-Z audiences. We've always been dedicated to meeting their "interest-driven consumption" needs, offering products at affordable prices that resonate emotionally with them.

By providing IP products that cater to the interests of consumers worldwide, we are able to tap into a core competitive advantage. Moreover, these IPs boast massive fan bases, which draw foot traffic to our stores and help enhance our brand recognition. This ensures that when fans think of purchasing IP products, Miniso is the first brand that springs to mind."

Miniso has shown remarkable growth in North America, with revenues and GMV significantly increasing. To what do you attribute this success, and how does Miniso plan on leveraging this growth?

Li: "We attribute our success to our store expansion, IP, product, and marketing strategies. In 2023, we expanded into more core commercial districts, boosting our brand's momentum. Flagship stores like those in Times Square and Florida Mall saw record-breaking sales in their opening months. Additionally, we continued opening stores with unique IP concepts, like the American Dream IP collection store. Currently, most of our US stores are profitable.

We introduced more IP collections beloved by US consumers, including Barbie, Snoopy, and Care Bears. We also enhanced our original IP designs, like Mini Family, further strengthening our brand. Through global brand upgrades and IP strategies, we increased our products' ASP (average selling price). Consumers are willing to pay for higher-quality products, resulting in higher sales profits for Miniso. In 2023, global IP product sales accounted for 40 percent of total revenue, with excellent performance in the US market.

Regarding product strategy, we invested in core strategic categories like aromatherapy and blind boxes. We increased interaction with local consumers and raised brand awareness through engaging activities like the Blind Box Carnival in December 2023. During the Carnival, a Miniso blind box van traveled through New York, attracting consumers to learn about the brand and enjoy blind boxes. Our strong performance last year proves the success of our strategies, and we will continue these strategies this year to achieve even higher growth."

Miniso's popular IP Collections from Minions, Barbie to its Original Collection MINI Family Credits: Miniso

Could you share some insights into Miniso's potential challenges in the US market and how the company plans to address them?

Li: "Since entering the US market in 2017, one of the significant challenges we've encountered is localization, spanning product development, operations, management, and team-building. Drawing from research on US consumer preferences, we've developed products tailored to meet local demand. Currently, 20-30 percent of our products in the global market are localized. For items like snacks and toys, we procure some of them directly from local suppliers in the US, which has received favorable feedback from consumers. Faced with intense market competition, we also need to continually enhance the brand's local identity through differentiated products and brand strength."

The new flagship store aims to offer a "fantastical and fashionable shopping experience." Can you elaborate on what this entails and how it differentiates Miniso from other retailers in the US?

Li: "Actually, we believe Miniso doesn't have any direct competitors in the US market at the moment. Our product range is extensive, but we don't just focus on affordability; product design is also a priority for us. We're dedicated to product innovation and IP design. We also place a strong emphasis on the in-store experience. Since last year, we've been rolling out upgraded store designs worldwide, introducing more "super stores" to showcase Miniso's commitment to thoughtful design.

For instance, in the American Dream IP collection store, we created in-store selfie spots and dedicated areas for customers to capture moments. This integration blends online content with offline activities, providing material for our social media posts. The store also offers self-service options such as self-checkout machines to enhance shopping convenience.

The Penpen Inflatable from Miniso's MINI Family Collection Welcoming People at American Dream Mall's Atrium Credits: Miniso

During the new store opening periods, Miniso also introduces creative interactive installations and activities to the host mall. For the American Dream store grand opening, we set up a summer swimming pool-themed pop-up interactive installation in the mall atrium, accompanied by an over 16 feet-tall PENPEN inflatable penguin mascot and various activities to engage consumers and increase their offline participation.

This, paired with our engaging IP products, we aim to provide a more enjoyable shopping experience for global consumers, expressing Miniso's "Joy Philosophy". This is where we believe we stand out from other retailers."

Where do you see Miniso in the US retail landscape in the next five years?

Li: "Over the next five years, Minso aims to add 900-1100 new stores globally each year. Despite having only about 170 stores in North America by the end of 2023, which remains our core market, we believe there is still substantial room for expansion.

We aspire to attract more consumers in the future with our distinctive and continuously innovative products, pricing, and shopping experiences. This will elevate our brand awareness and influence, enabling us to develop more products that resonate with US consumers' preferences.

The Swimming Pool-themed Popup Area at the Shopping Mall Atrium Credits: Miniso
Flagship Store
international expansion
ip assets
Store opening