This month, Chanel enacted a new in-store queue management system in South Korea where it has 24 stores according to the company website. The measure follows increased “reselling” of the brand’s products such as Chanel 19, Le Boy, and the Classic Flap Bag.
Under this new filtering strategy, customers will need to provide contact numbers as well as their reasons for entering stores. The move is, presumably, aimed at staving off Daigou sellers — also known as personal shoppers. According to Reuters, since the plan was executed, the traffic in boutiques has decreased by 30 percent.
The travel ban and increasing price gap between luxury goods sold in China and neighbouring countries (like South Korea) have boosted the daigou market. And these countries are pivotal for Chanel. Euromonitor reported that South Korea is the world’s seventh-biggest luxury goods market and one of only two of the top seven markets by revenue — the other being China — to see sales grow last year from 2019 levels.
“When people purchase an expensive bag, they relate themselves to the brand — something that’s luxury and rare. But you don’t feel special when everyone around you carries a Chanel,” said Lee Eun-hee, a consumer science professor at Inha University. Lee forecast the local open run phenomenon will gradually subside as locked-up demand heads overseas.
“During the early phases of the coronavirus pandemic, people went revenge shopping at luxury stores to reward themselves in the gloomy days of lockdown,” Lee said. “But since many countries are no longer requiring self-quarantine after international travel, people will start to travel overseas and shop there.”
According to Korean reselling platform Kream, the price of Chanel’s medium-sized classic flap bag was around 11.6 million won as of Thursday, down 16.8 percent from 14 million won in the first week of February. The retail price set by Chanel is 11.8 million won.
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