Chinese-made turtleneck jumpers gain popularity in Europe thanks to Macron


EU rising energy prices Illustration: Liu Rui/GTAfter the French president and minister of the economy both wore turtleneck jumpers, the turtleneck trend has become a winter hit second only to electric blankets in Europe, and winter clothing exporters in China are working overtime to catch up with European orders.

“Searches for men’s turtlenecks have increased 13 times in the last 30 days in our company’s online shop,” Luo Jun, head of Xiamen Premium Import & Export Co told the Global Times on Friday.

“Winter clothes such as coats and turtleneck jumpers are being shipped, and will soon arrive in Europe,” he added. 

According to Luo, as early as April this year, some foreign trade companies in Fujian and Guangdong provinces predicted this wave of turtleneck sweater sales, and tried to lobby European importers for them. 

“We provided samples and accepted orders in April, and started to work overtime in May and June, then it would be possible to catch up with the sales boom,” he said. 

Data from Chinese international e-commerce platform AliExpress showed that the search volume for “sweater/pullover” on AliExpress has risen to the first place in the menswear category in the past month.

It is believed that French President Emmanuel Macron was behind the turtleneck fever.

Macron appeared sporting what is fast becoming the hottest autumn fashion trend in the French government, the polo neck jumper, which has become a symbol of efforts to save on heating, according to AFP on October 3.

The previous week, the Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire started the turtleneck trend by swapping his shirt and tie for one.

In addition to the turtleneck sweater, other clothes which Chinese like to wear for the winter, such as thermal underwear and down jackets, are also popular in Europe. 

Sales of thermal underwear in Europe have increased by 246 percent from the previous month, AliExpress said on Friday, adding that France witnessed the top growth of 372 percent, followed by Italy at 365 percent and 362 percent for Germany.

In addition, sales of Chinese-style flannel pajamas have also grown in Europe, with sales of flannel pajamas across Europe increasing by 95 percent month-on-month since October, while sales of hot water bottles have increased by 300 percent month-on-month since October.

Before entering October, sales of small heating appliances tripled in Europe as well, AliExpress said, adding that for the coming Double 11 shopping gala, warm clothing and small low-energy heaters will be the hot-selling items.

Against the background of limited natural gas supply and soaring prices, in order to survive the winter, in addition to warm shoes and clothing, heating equipment such as electric blankets has also become winter essentials for Europeans.

In the first eight months this year, Yiwu, a city in East China’s Zhejiang Province, which is also the world’s largest wholesale market for small commodities, exported 190 million yuan ($26.5 million) worth of warming equipment such as air conditioners, heat pumps, water heaters and electric blankets, up 41.6 percent on a yearly basis, according to data provided by Yiwu customs to the Global Times on Tuesday.

Among them, 648,000 units were exported to the EU, an increase of 114.6 percent, the data showed. 

Electrical appliance manufacturing giant Midea Group held a groundbreaking ceremony for a heat pump base in Italy on Friday. With an investment of 60 million euros ($58.3 million), the base will open in the second quarter of 2024. The base will have production lines, support facilities and a research and development center, according to Midea. 

All Rights Reserved for GT staff reporters

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