New York-based 1stdibs, an online American retailer for fancy interior design, decoration and fashion, just raked in $15 million in series C funding from Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba, according to Recode.
In business for 13 years, 1stdibs (terrible name for such a high-brow retailer, by the way) isn’t exactly a startup anymore. It’s raised $117 million from previous investors, most of it since 2011.
The strategic investment will help Alibaba better serve China’s fast-growing consumer market for high-dollar luxury goods. 1stdibs CEO David Rosenblatt notes one-third of his company’s business is outside the US.
Studies show that by 2015, China will account for over 20 percent of the world’s demand for luxury goods. While the market is still growing, however, Bain & Company reports growth is tapering off. Furthermore, Chinese shoppers do two-thirds of their luxury shopping abroad, “triggering slowdowns in store traffic and store openings domestically.” If this trend continues, Alibaba might have just put its money into a shrinking market gap.
(Editing by Steven Millward)