Foreign competitors add to problems of slower growth
Many Chinese sportswear brands continued to suffer from lower demand, excess inventory and overstoring. In response, brands continued to close physical stores while proactively increasing their online presence and executing brand extension strategies.
Anta, an adult sportswear brand, entered the growing children's wear business. Semir initiated a strategic shift to broaden from being a marketer of children's wear to becoming a one-stop provider of children's clothing, education, entertainment and other services.
For the marketers of business casual apparel, the problems of a slower economy and reduced demand were compounded by competitive pressure from international fast fashion brands, which offered a combination of high style and a low price that appealed to Chinese consumers.
Apparel brands continued to expand into lower tier markets. Some created flagship stores where customers could experience the brand in a physical location in an O2O attempt to match the offline and online brand presence.
Ecommerce increased, but shopping in physical stores remained the primary way Chinese purchased apparel. And online shopping was especially unlikely for certain items, like shoes.