Online shopping in China raises the toplot prices
Throughout recent years, toplots – bundles of 50 of the finest furs at Kopenhagen Fur’s auctions – have been sold at extraordinarily high prices. We see clients pay up to 250,000 DKK for a toplot. The explanation must be found within the booming online trade in China.
“Online shopping is a major trend in China and two years ago we started to merge social media and online shopping, for instance with the shopping platform Taobao. At Taobao you can follow various influencers who are selling stuff through online streaming. They sell thousands of items in just a few minutes and interact with the consumers”, Head of Kopenhagen Fur China, Chris Sui states.
This tendency has also extended to fur shopping, which prior to this new shift primarily took place in giant fur stores in Northeastern China. October 10th is an excellent example. On this date, the national online shopping day for, among others, the trading of fur coats, was hosted. A couple of the most popular influencers sold furs for a staggering amount of 323 million DKK and 150 million DKK through Taobao on this one day. 95 million DKK of these were earned on mink fur coats, of which the two influencers sold 17,000.
It is this kind of online shopping that helps raise the toplot prices. Digital sales have made a new and very large group of customers available.
“Demographics in China are different compared to Europe. Our population is young. All young people here have smartphones and most of them only shop online and simply don’t set foot in physical stores. These are the ones we reach now that fur has launched online”, Chris Cui says.
The story of the toplot
Since the new customer group is not necessarily as well acquainted with fur qualities as the customers of the fur shops in Northeast China it is important to have the storytelling in place in order to get them to choose quality mink fur. The online selection of fur is close to infinite, the VP of International Sales at Kopenhagen Fur Kasper Scott Reinbacher states:
“The changes of the Chinese shopping scene have made the story of the product more significant. Our clients will have to stand out in this online jungle and narrate what makes their product special. The toplot is a definite asset for telling that story. When we, as the most important player of the fur market, give our clients the stamp of quality in the form of the toplot, they can use it in the narration towards their customers. We can hear that is the demand from precisely those of our clients that are selling fur online. And that is what we can see on the toplot prices.”
Kopenhagen Fur has also added more value to the toplot compared to earlier, he says:
“Previously you would get a certificate and your picture taken but today we are actively using it as a sales tool and are investing more recourses into it. When they spend so much money on a toplot, they will get the attention of Kopenhagen Fur’s team. We can help them with the promotion e.g. through a design collaboration with Studio, which they can use in their storytelling. That is something especially our Chinese customers see great value in.”
MSBEAST: Toplot provides momentum
One of those clients is MSBEAST, who bought the Brown Velvet Males-toplot this Spring. MSBEAST is one of the absolute biggest online fur shops in China, counting more than half a million followers on TaoBao.
“Online sales is currently our only channel. The development of the internet industry in China has been tremendous in recent years, which has given us access to the entire country”, says Jin Jing, Co-owner of MSBEAST.
MSBEAST chose to use the toplot furs back in China for promotion and in-house production, even though they were also offered to have a fur coat of high-quality skins produced at Kopenhagen Fur Studio along with four short films about the actual developing process that they in China use on a regular basis in marketing.
“With these films they will get the chance to see the lengthy work from skins to finished fur clothing. It continuously gives us a very positive response and interest. Both in specific furs and in other fur products we carry in the store”, says Jin Jing, one half of the couple that owns MSBEAST.
She is very pleased with the collaboration between MSBEAST and Kopenhagen Fur and hopes that she will have the opportunity to use the toplot package again.
“There is no doubt that the link with Kopenhagen Fur makes us interesting. And the videos are something we can work on and evolve because great and relevant content presents us with more followers on platforms such as TaoBao”, she says.
MandyShen: A new toplot-enthusiastic acquaintance
Another client that is determined to buy toplots is MandyShen. Although this small Chinese fur shop has been operating since 2012, it was not until the auction in September last year that Kopenhagen Fur met owner of the company Shen Danhong. At their first visit at Kopenhagen Fur, they bought two toplots. A black Swakara to a price of 700 DKK per skin and Pastel Velvet females for 3,400 DKK.
“Our strength at MandyShen is the great relationship we have with our customers online. We generate that by streaming the purchase of toplots in the auction hall to our followers, or when we stream from the inspection hall showing our followers the high quality of the skins. Our followers watch from their phones when we are taking pictures for the toplot certificate etc.”, says Shen Danhong.
MandySen doesn’t operate with a physical store. Their storefront, so to speak, is the webshop TaoBao where they showcase their furs. They are doing well at the online platform. Well enough for the small company to have a following of 240,000 users on TaoBao.