Trade Facilitation Center of Excellence - Fashion and Apparel industry

Trends in Fashion and Apparel in a Growing Market

In recent years, access to international fashion trends has increased with the rise in internet connections. Western singers and bands, sports icons, and other influencers create a rising interest in Western brands in China and Russia. There are not many local brands in both countries, so the choice for domestic products is limited, so the demand for fashion and apparel from Western brands has increased so much.

The online marketplaces in both countries are very well developed, like Tmall in China or OZON and Lamoda in Russia. They offer services that we have yet to see in many Western countries. Consumers in Russia, for example, can order something online and have it either delivered at home and try it on before they decide to keep it! The person delivering the item will wait for you to try it and take it back to process the return if you don’t want it. There are even pick-up points with parcel lockers with a fitting room, so you can either walk away wearing your new outfit or immediately return the items you don’t want.

Another interesting trend is that online spending by consumers has doubled over the past years. The monthly spend online went from EUR 180 to over EUR 300.  These trends make China and Russia interesting growth markets for Western fashion and apparel brands. While it is possible to service this market from Europe or the United States, it is impossible to provide the same service levels as companies with local presence and inventory. Next-day delivery will be impossible. Next month delivery will be more likely.

The Challenges of Doing Business in China and Russia

While both the Chinese and the Russian markets show enormous potential, Western companies also face several challenges when expanding their business and selling their goods via online marketplaces or their websites in these regions.

Legal entity

The first thing you need to import your goods to sell them in the Chinese and Russian markets is a local entity. Setting up a local entity is a cumbersome process and takes money. You need to know all local laws, rules, and regulations. These changes are subject to regular change.


You can’t run any operation without people. Next to the fact that you need a Russian to lead your company (or a Chines in China), you also need additional staff. Good people are hard to find, especially if you are a new entrant.


You need to have a local financial administration and invoice your customers in local currency. Again, companies need to be fully aware of all local laws, rules, and regulations.

How to Expand Your Business Online to China and Russia

Companies can expand their business online in China and Russia by opening a local entity, hiring local staff, and starting operations. But, there is an alternative that takes less effort, time, and money: make use of trade facilitation.

Ahlers has been active with logistics operations in China and Russia for years. We know the local market, we are entirely up to speed with all rules and regulations, and we have longstanding relationships with local and national authorities. We can facilitate doing business in China and Russia.

We take care of importing your goods. We make sure they are labeled according to local regulations. We store your goods in our warehouse, and we manage all logistics flows, from the goods coming into the country to the delivery of an order to a consumer. We can also process the return flows. We leverage the knowledge and experience of working for different companies, which gives us economies of scale that are unobtainable for a company entering a new market.

In the meantime, you can focus on what you do best: selling your products. We take care of the processes supporting that. If you want more information on how we can support the expansion of your online business in China or Russia, contact our experts or request a tailor-made workshop to discover more about e-commerce in the Fashion and Apparel Industry.

Request your workshop today