Pat-Pat, a leading player in China's children's apparel sector, which recently secured $700 million in its third round of funding, bringing its total public funding to a staggering $1 billion. In addition, Pat Pat has also been called the "SHEIN of children's clothing" due to its resemblance to the fast-paced e-commerce disruptor.
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The United States is the largest consumer market for children's clothing, accounting for 21 percent of the global market share. It is also expected to grow faster than both menswear and women wear, according to Euro monitor International. Carter's, the largest and oldest children's clothing brand in the United States, currently has an 11 percent market share, leaving considerable room for penetration.
Pat-Pat was co-founded in 2014 by three entrepreneurs with no experience in the clothing industry. They believed that there was a huge untapped middle class consumer group in the US kids fashion sector and decided to use their knowledge of algorithms and digital marketing to fill this need in the US and abroad. And they were very successful.
As a leading player among DTC brands going abroad, Pat-Pat shares many similarities with SHEIN, especially in terms of content marketing, mass-targeted product pricing, as well as abundant SKUs and rapid design uptake - thanks to their flexible supply chain in China.
Both PatPat and SHEIN have high repurchase rates, but for different reasons: SHEIN is a fast fashion e-commerce platform that attracts repeat customers with low prices and a wide variety of on-trend designs. PatPat, on the other hand, makes children's clothing, which is a market where the frequency of changing clothes - you can't stop children from growing - is inherently high.
Since many consumers appreciate the quality of children's clothing, PatPat is dedicated to developing well-designed pieces rather than simply offering cheap products like SHEIN. Using the team's IT expertise, PatPat developed analytical tools for "keyword search" and "popular color trends" to bring diverse and stylish clothing products to consumers in the US market, where children's clothing is generally more monotonous. PatPat also aims to use these tools to solve inventory and turnover issues in the apparel industry.
'[PatPat] found a supply and demand gap in the overseas market and made significant inroads into it,' said Luo Yang Yan, director of Crowd Asia Pacific, a global marketing services provider. She also pointed out that PatPat's slogan - Cute, Quality and Great Prices - worked because it was the first to emphasize the word "Cute", as most children's clothing products in overseas markets prioritize quality and comfort. PatPat used this as a major selling point. "With a high turnover rate for children's and baby clothing, [PatPat] is able to cater to parents who want to share their children's looks on social media, while offering prices much lower than local brands."
PatPat has been ranked in the Top 10 on the OneSight and Marketing Overseas Brand Social Platform performance list for several seasons, even surpassing SHEIN at one point. Indeed, marketing has been a major asset for overseas Chinese brands, and in PatPat's case, this is mainly reflected in its comprehensive Facebook presence.
'It's clear that PatPat is serious about its content marketing strategy. With a diverse social presence, polished video content and localized copy, PatPat's Facebook copywriting strategy is highly consistent with the main selling points highlighted in its cuteness-focused tagline,' says Luo. "A well-executed social media strategy is essential for successful overseas brands."
Regarding the KOL strategy, PatPat announced on its official website its 'Influencer Program' in which PatPat sends $40-$200 worth of children's clothing to KOLs every month. Within 7-15 days of receiving the clothing, KOLs are required to upload pictures or videos to their personal accounts with a link to the official website of the respective product.
Luo suggested that PatPat could make a bigger bet on TikTok. 'Perhaps due to the relatively young age of users on TikTok, PatPat has yet to gain ground on the platform. However, the target market for children and baby products could be wider than that of parents. Young aunties and uncles on TikTok could be a great opportunity to get the PatPat brand into new circles.'
However, some customers have complained about purchasing PatPat clothing with the SHEIN label on third-party review sites, and there are still questions about the quality of PatPat products. The negative feedback is consistent with Gutsatz's concerns about PatPat's sustainable development. 'They invest a lot of money in marketing, but is it sustainable in the long term? How will they continue to grow if there are additional costs due to quality issues?'