Not many people in the West have heard about it, but with 850 million monthly active users, China’s WeChat is a major force in pushing affordable brands, as well as luxury brands, in China today.
WeChat is a social media app (which includes instant messaging, commerce and payment services ) released in 2011. By 2016, it was one of the largest standalone messaging apps by monthly active users, but has failed to penetrate markets outside of China. Its strong appeal in China, however, may work well for brands who wish to tap onto this huge market share.
In a recent article on the subject, India’s Financial Times looks at how Cartier plans to use WeChat to push its way into the country’s 103 billion jewellery market. Up until now, only a few western luxury jewelers have used WeChat for promotion – these inlcude Bulgari and Tiffany’s.
Last year, Cartier joined the party by launching a storefront on WeChat. According to the piece, Cartier sells “around 60 products via WeChat, including its Clou collection, which has a pink gold and diamond ring on sale for Rmb27,600 ($3,550)”. In the future, “Cartier says that it plans to expand its WeChat range”. This Valentine’s Day, Cartier used its WeChat boutique to sell 150 pink gold Love bracelets.
According to the piece, “WeChat is attractive on top of its massive audience because it has one-to-one messaging functionality, direct payment system and a high level of brand control. Companies can build their own site on the platform, fulfill orders and deal with customers”.