MARKET REPORTS 

Alibaba launches Luxury Soho targeting younger consumers

Alibaba has announced the launch of Luxury Soho — a new direct-to-consumer shoppable high-end fashion store. The store aims to tap into demand from China’s youth for high-end fashion and home furnishings.

“More consumers today look to buy a piece of clothing, but the search is still a one-to-one experience,” said Lennart Lundqvist, chief customer officer at Alibaba. “Many of the customers [at Luxury Soho] already made decisions to buy something without discovering that it came from a retailer. They are looking for a seamless experience.”

The Soho store is the latest premium Soho product to join its lineup, with that section of its website now featuring a collection of clothes for men, women and kids. The men’s collection includes apparel from brands such as Burberry, Paul Smith and Versace. Women’s pieces include items from top-end Italian labels such as Loewe and Valentino, and children’s wear includes brands such as Fjällräven and Salvatore Ferragamo.

While relatively few prices have been revealed for these items, other luxury retailers have been revamping their own sections on the website for consumers under 30, including Dior, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

It is also clear from the pictures that each dress in the collection is designed to last up to 12 months with optimal fit and each piece has a guarantee of quality. The quality is also in part a reaction to recent crackdowns on counterfeit goods in China, with goods having been seen in a fashion at a low cost so they can be worn cheaply on the streets.

While few details have been revealed about what the products will cost, speculations suggest the range will be between RMB1,000 and RMB3,000 ($133 to $482). Prices for luxury goods on the mainland can be as high as RMB12,000 ($1,900).

The new website is the latest in a slew of fashion products launched on Alibaba’s fashion portal Tmall, which was relaunched in July last year.

More recently, Alibaba launched a line of fashion product sourced from e-commerce website Shoprun.

Beijing-based Alibaba, which was founded by Jack Ma in 1999, now operates a cloud computing business, and has over 860 million users, but lacks a food delivery service like Meituan Dianping, which also operates a cloud computing business.

In addition to Soho, it has its own online fashion e-commerce business Tmall Fashion, which operates in over 15 countries in Asia, Europe and North America.

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