It’s hard to really explain how obsessed the Asian female culture is with all things ‘cute.’ It’s not uncommon here to see a really sophisticated woman dressed head to toe in black Louis and Ferragamo pull out a phone with a Hello Kitty charm.
The Japanese even have a word for it and they use it all the time: ‘Kawaii,’ which is now a mainstay of their cultural identity for men and women.
The other day I was in the Landmark building–it lays claim to being some of the most, if not THE most, expensive retail real estate in the world. And I decided to wander into Anteprima to see these ‘cute’ bags.
It turns out that they are all priced between $1500 and $2300 USD! Turns out cute bags are not cheap.
Hello Kitty even made it to Anteprima’s fashion show in Milan last summer.
And two years back Paris debuted her own bag, retailing for $3,600USD. Some interesting KITTY facts from a recent SCMP article:
- Sanrio amassed an operating profit of 21.1 billion yen (HK$2.1 billion) in the 2010 financial year, and 80 per cent of its revenue came from Hello Kitty licensing fees.
- At the age of 37, Hello Kitty is losing her cool in her home market of Japan. However, the mouthless cartoon cat with a red bow is still popular among the youth in China, where Hello Kitty branding opportunities abound.
- “Our fans are increasing very fast,” said Daisy Dai, general manager of CYF China, the only Sanrio licensee with rights to open branded gift shops on the mainland. The retailer has about 150,000 regular customers, and nearly a third of them joined last year. Similar to Japan, about 80 per cent of consumers were female and most are students and so-called office ladies, she said. “Some are attracted by Kitty’s cuteness, purity and innocence; some are nostalgic about Kitty, which hearkens back to a time in their childhood; and some simply adore Japanese pop culture,” said Dai. She added that bags, wallets, figurines and watches were the most sought-after items.