LVMH Brands Double Down on JD.com Partnerships

Givenchy’s JD.com mini programme officially launched Tuesday, making it the latest in a raft of brands from luxury conglomerate LVMH to join forces with the Chinese e-commerce platform.

Even brands notoriously adverse to partnering with third-party e-commerce platforms, such as Louis Vuitton, Dior and Bulgari have signed on to JD.com’s mini programmes over the past 12 months in order to better reach China’s young, digitally-native luxury consumer base.

“What we are offering LVMH, which has a big group and within the group many different brands … [is] the most tailored and customised business models, based on the brands’ needs,” Kevin Jiang, president of international business, JD Fashion and Lifestyle, told BoF, with brands able to choose from a wholesale model, a marketplace flagship model (similar to that offered by rival Tmall Luxury Pavilion) and the newer mini programme option.

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“The brands can completely control the customer experience, the user journey, the layout,” Jiang said of the mini programmes, which can be virtually identical to the brand’s own WeChat mini programmes and were developed by JD.com in conjunction with “some of the top-tier brands” as a creative way to bridge the interests of brands with those of the e-commerce retailer, he added.

Though some LVMH Group brands had already begun collaborating with JD.com prior to 2021, last year the floodgates really opened, with Louis Vuitton signing on in April, Berluti in June, Givenchy Beauty and Benefit Cosmetics in July, Bulgari and Guerlain in August and Dior and Loewe in November — in time for the Singles’ Day promotional period. The latest addition, Givenchy, is offering its Chinese New Year collection exclusively for sale on on JD.com, Jiang said.

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“Moving forward there will be more,” he added, though he would not be drawn on future which future brand collaborations are currently in the pipeline.

JD.com has seen enormous growth in its luxury division over the past three years, admittedly off a low base in 2018, when only 20 brands had signed onto the platform (that number reached 300 by the end of 2021, according to JD.com figures).

Jiang says luxury sales on the platform have seen annual growth of over 200 percent year-on-year since 2019 and he expects a similar result in the year ahead.

“Luxury is going to continue to be one of the fastest-growing categories within fashion on JD,” he said.

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Overall, China’s luxury online penetration increased from about 13 percent in 2019 to 23 percent in 2020, according to Bain, and as e-commerce luxury sales grow in China, so to does the competition between tech giants Tmall, JD.com, Douyin and WeChat, platforms that are all working to increase their share of this growing pie.

Disclosure: LVMH is part of a group of investors who, together, hold a minority interest in The Business of Fashion. All investors have signed shareholders’ documentation guaranteeing BoF’s complete editorial independence.

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