“Design in China” e30 – SKYPEOPLE 天空人 Chinese Puffer Jacket Competing with the Bigs

Puffer jackets, especially low-cost ones, have been produced in China for decades. Higher-end brands like Canada Goose have kept production at home, touting premier craftsmanship and quality materials as their standout qualities. However, the puffer or winter jacket landscape is changing, with Chinese brands vying for the market share, especially for high-quality luxury jackets. 

SKYPEOPLE is among those names growing in popularity at home in China and abroad, tapping into the growing demand for these winter staples. Puffer jackets have emerged as fashionable outerwear, as their large silhouette is very popular in street fashion. For young Chinese consumers, these jackets aren’t merely functional garments meant to keep them warm but also a style statement.

The brand has its work cut out because Chinese consumers looking for luxury puffer jackets have leaned towards Western brands like Moncler, Canada Goose, and the North Face for years. Local names like Bosideng also offer puffer jackets similar in construction and styles to Western brands. However, SKYPEOPLE has been clever with its branding. For instance, it opened its first store in Shanghai, utilizing blue and white as the main theme colors, similar to the Arctic ice sheet under a clear blue sky. What’s unique about the brand is that it focuses on the fashion side of the puffer jacket while retaining its functionality.

Their recent launch of a workplace down jacket embraces warmth with lightness. Moreover, these jackets use special synthetic fabrics that are less noisy than some fabrics commonly used in outerwear. And unlike Moncler, the puffer jackets are not too bulky, making them ideal for everyday use. The down jackets from the brand have a filling of up to 90 percent (800 fill diamond white goose down), so they can withstand frigid temperatures.

SKYPEOPLE, much like Bosideng, comes in the high-price bracket of puffer jacket brands. However, despite the recent price increases, they are still cheaper than Canada Goose. The Chinese brands have realized that consumers are willing to pay more for a better product. Then there’s also the notion that a high-priced item is more luxurious and high-quality. Nevertheless, SKYPEOPLE and Bosideng down jackets are still under $1,000, making them somewhat accessible. The puffer jacket market in China is still growing. According to a 2019 report, it was worth 121 billion RMB, with Bosideng as the top seller. Compared to Europe and North America, puffer and down jackets are still not as common in China, so there’s massive potential in this subsection of winter retail. But the landscape is very competitive, especially for a novice brand like SKYPEOPLE.

Established names like Canada Goose are taking ‘think global, act local’ approach with their lines in China. The Canadian brand has collaborated with several well-known Chinese designers and artists like Angel Chen and Xu Zhen. It’s safe to say that SKYPEOPLE has arrived at just the right time, as consumer spending on winter outerwear is increasing yearly in China. With their streamlined down jackets targeting young professionals, there’s promise in their brand strategy.

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