Luxury offline activations are back to pre-COVID-19 levels in China for the first time since the Coronavirus pandemic began. As consumers begin to feel more comfortable shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, luxury brands ramped up investment in offline activations and omnichannel (O2O) capability to attract foot traffic.
As an essential part of luxury brands’ strategy in China, offline activations not only drive foot traffic but are also an effective way to drive social buzz and build brand awareness. “Offline is a great tool to target millennial and Gen Z groups in China. These social-savvy consumers are passionate about trying and sharing their offline experiences,” says Amie Song, Sr. Specialist at Gartner for Marketers.
When COVID-19 broke out in China, many brands had to cancel or postpone their offline plans. Conversations about O2O content by luxury brands on Weibo were limited from February to March, and started to pick up again in April as the economy gradually reopened. But it is not until recently that offline mentions were able to fully resume to pre-COVID-19 levels.
In July, the total mentions of O2O content on Weibo by luxury brands tracked in Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury China grew by 24% year-on-year. Particularly, in an effort to attract more store visits, the mention of offline stores on Weibo saw the biggest increase since February and grew by 154% year-on-year.