Why is Maserati on Tmall?


Tmall, one of China’s most popular e-commerce sites is now home to Italian luxury auto-brand Maserati.  We look at the effect this will have on the brand here in China.

Tmall, alongside JD.com, dominates China’s rapidly growing e-commerce industry.  Usually the sites are associated with fast fashion, consumerables and other compact items.  But lately Maserati has joined the increasing number of auto-brands who have created official accounts on Tmall.

Is this a retail mismatch for the Italian luxury car maker or is it a masterstroke to provide greater numbers of Chinese consumers access to the brand?  Read On.


Maserati first launch of its new model on Tmall in China

Launching on March 21st, the site has already created substantial buzz.  In just 18 seconds, all 100 of the brand’s SUV Levante quota were ordered.  One of the reasons, was this particular Maserati model had not been released at local dealerships yet.

On the Tmall site, Maserati enthusiasts can place a non-refundable deposit on several Maserati models made available on the e-commerce platform – this includes GranTurismo sports cars.

The deposit locks the Tmaller into this purchase, or the possibility to purchase another Maserati after a test drive at an official dealership.

Apart from the initial excitement, the move makes strategic sense for the Italian car maker.   They have become the only brand in the premium category to have a Tmall presence.

From a consumer engagement perspective, Tmall arguably creates more natural purchase pathways for local millenials.  Of the 300 million Chinese who use e-commerce for purchasers, approximately 120 million are car purchasers, and demographically, 73% of them were born in the 1980s or 1990s.

From a cultural perspective, many would have developed their ‘car crushes’ through films and content they saw online.  For them buying their dream car brand on Tmall may actually feel less strange than the formality of a luxury car dealership.

For Tmall, having Maserati on its books simply challenges stereotypes about e-commerce being for lower quality and mass goods.   If it is good enough for Maserati, it is good enough for anyone.

This may seem strange from outside China, but it is a SMART piece of strategy by both.
Engaging directly the purchase culture of young Chinese luxury and car buyers.

Look out for more profiles on brands entering Tmall and JD.com – Keep it locked to SBW!

About Author

Jerry Clode

Jerry Clode is Head of Digital & Social Insight at Resonance. He leads Resonance SMART, providing leading-edge research, strategy and naming for brands in China using bespoke methodologies. Jerry also produces Resonance's popular China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly publication covering modern marketing methods of the world's top brands.

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