The luxury world’s battle to win over Chinese millennials has never been as fierce as it is today. Market-savvy brands have in the past five years put enormous efforts into building digital presences in order to reach this huge market. The rest of the field is just now catching up. Luo Jiaqi writes for Jing Daily.
Temper Magazine’s Trending segment casts a net upon all that is throwing tantrums within the world of China Fashion across a variety of global sources. This very necessary segment makes for a collection of largely non-Temper Magazine-original content dipping its toe into the deep indigo-dyed pool that is the ocean of Middle Kingdom fashionable astonishment. This time around…
We head on over to Jing Daily where Luo Jiaqi sits us down and shares with readers the 411 for brands that want a long-term winning strategy in China, marketing to millennials is a must. The Chinese millennial population consists of those born after 1980, but in this feature, Luo refers mostly to those born after 1990. Millennial marketing requires studying the shifting tastes of what’s already a major spending power in China and making products that reflect (and sometimes challenge) their tastes. It is more than simply knowing which apps to engage on, which KOLs to collaborate with, and which trends to catch up on. Off we go!
In today’s digital world, buzz is easy to create, but a genuine word-of-mouth reputation is hard to build. The IT Balancing Act 101 anno 2018.
China’s millennial market is lucrative but mysterious to many. Luxury brands are investing a lot of money and effort in strategic marketing to reach millennials, often at the expense of what they are actually selling.
The dominant idea in the industry is this: “If I have a popular KOL create a popular post using my products in the trendiest platform, I’ll win over Chinese millennials. I’ve communicated with them in the ways they like best, so they will like my brand.” Boom.
The truth is, while marketing definitely helps more Chinese millennials know your brand, it doesn’t always convince them to buy your products. In today’s digital world, buzz is easy to create, but a genuine word-of-mouth reputation is hard to build.
The IT Balancing Act 101 anno 2018.
“It’s naïve to presume convenience and digital-readiness are all that young consumers care about. Chinese millennials aren’t anti-heritage or anti-quality. They’re anti-mediocrity.” Luo writes
Reconciliation And Exploration
Many luxury fashion houses find it difficult to reconcile what they stand for and what Chinese millennials want. There is a seemingly unsolvable tension between the two: One represents heritage, craftsmanship, and timeless beauty, while the other demands a shopping culture of convenience, speed, and limitless choice.
The traditional quality of luxury brands may, on the surface, seem too slow and laborious for Chinese millennials who want everything fast, but it’s naïve to presume convenience and digital-readiness are all that young consumers care about. Chinese millennials aren’t anti-heritage or anti-quality. They’re anti-mediocrity.
As Price Waterhouse Cooper’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2018 China Report reveals, “some companies are still focusing on the ‘digital savviness’ of the Chinese millennials, trends which are now so pervasive that they have become truisms.” But lost among their intense focus on digital presence, brands have often neglected a basic question – how do you create styles that truly appeal to millennials? A few JD tips and tricks to remember:
- From household name to niche brands
- From materialist to healthy lifestyle-focused spending
- From online to offline
Dancing To The Fine Line Tunes
While most luxury brands focus on how to fine-tune digital communication to a young audience, some have started shifting their focus from digital to style innovation. By re-calibrating their styles, these brands and designers are actually winning over Chinese millennials’ wallets and hearts in a more effective way. Chinese netizens refer to these brands as “爆款制造机” (bào kuǎn zhìzào jī) which loosely translates to “explosion manufacturing machine”, or, the creators of an “IT style” trend. Here are three leading examples:
“In an era when luxury purchases are not just status-driven, young Chinese patrons seem genuinely excited to wear unique pieces that will visually wow their social circle.” Luo reports
What Chinese millennials want from luxury brands isn’t business as usual: it’s uniqueness. It’s humor. It’s a little bit of swag. In an era when luxury purchases are not just status-driven, young Chinese patrons seem genuinely excited to wear unique pieces that will visually wow their social circle.
For brands, this should be considered good news. It shows that fun and quality aren’t mutually exclusive. By taking the “luxury” concept less seriously, brands might be able to charm China’s young luxury consumers and — if they’re lucky — achieve “IT” status.
For the all-inclusive Luo Op-Piece, continue reading right here on Jing Daily!
Originally written by Luo Jiaqi for Jing Daily, 2018. All rights reserved
Additional editing by Elsbeth van Paridon for Temper Magazine
Featured image: Courtesy of U.S.-China Institute