China’s childrenswear market: Seizing the three-child policy opportunity; Domestic players are gaining traction, alongside international brands. Who will win?

October 22, 2021 – Vogue Business – The introduction of a three-child policy in China has prompted renewed interest in the potential of the childrenswear market where competition is intensifying.

China’s RMB 229.2 billion ($32.27 billion) childrenswear market is expected to reach RMB 473.8 billion ($66.72 billion) by 2025, according to Euromonitor. Capital investments are following: Softbank, an early investor in Alibaba and Focus Media, recently invested $160 million in Patpat, an e-tailer of maternity and children’s items including toys. Founded in Silicon Valley, Patpat has been called the Shein of childrenswear, and is one of the fastest-growing childrenswear brands in the world, receiving over $700 million in financing for its budget-priced offering. One core advantage is its reliance on China’s supply chain.

Established Chinese childrenswear brand Balabala recently held a fashion show at the Great Wall, while newer local players such as Moodytiger and Elala are keeping pace with market leaders, striving to build up brand value, actively seizing opportunities to acquire more financing and enter the market. At present, there are not many domestic Class A share brands dealing in childrenswear. The four who are, are market leaders: Balabala’s Semir, Annil, Jinfa Labi and ABC Kids.

At the same time, international competition is heating up: luxury children’s clothing lines by Dior, Burberry, Gucci, Fendi and Bonpoint have led the development of China’s high-end childrenswear market driven by high-income parents appreciating brand power. Mass market brands from overseas, including Mothercare and Carter’s, have also seized on the market opportunity; so have domestic adult clothing brands such as Semir, Peacebird, JNBY, not to mention sportswear brands Li Ning and Anta. And with their relatively advanced business models, fast fashion brands, including Uniqlo, H&M and Gap, have quickly established themselves as the Chinese market opens up.

Newcomer Elala is a cotton-based childrenswear company in the mass consumer market, with a focus on R&D and design, and a commitment to be, in their words, an “expert in cotton products for infants and young children”.

Read more at Vogue Business.