There was a paltry show of hands when Dealmoon’s Rose Blackmore, senior managing director of business development and partnerships, U.S. and Canada, asked the audience who was strategizing to reach the Chinese consumer — right now.
Dealmoon, the largest Chinese-American shopping site, is largely aimed at students coming from China. But it may be better known as the “Chinese Instagram,” integrating with Weibo and WeChat with a reach of more than 10 million followers.
Among other things, Blackmore spoke of the ways brands can better engage the Millennial and Gen Z Chinese consumer without falling victim to cultural appropriation.
“This audience does not forget,” said Blackmore during her session. She cited examples from luxury brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and others, as to how branding and product mishaps can “keep coming back to haunt them.”
China’s Millennial and Gen Z consumers will account for 46 percent of global luxury purchases by 2025, according to data cited in the presentation, from global consulting firm Bain & Co. While it’s unclear whether the U.S.-China trade tensions will disrupt this consumer group’s influencers, their consumer preferences are strongly defined.
In spite of boasting strong brand awareness and weak brand loyalty, the Chinese consumer professes love for home-grown brands, such as Li-Ning and Peacebird. Expanding to a global stage, both have shown at New York Fashion Week, along with a list of others both emerging and established.
As in the U.S., the editorialization of shopping and influencer prestige is fodder to drive engagement and conversion. What’s called “KOL,” or key opinion leaders back in China, are micro- and macro-influencers in the U.S.
And their opinions are well-regarded by young Chinese consumers, with Blackmore citing a mere seven hours on one occasion to sell out its brand partner’s handbags in KOL-driven campaigns.
Uniquely skipping the desktop computer-era, Chinese consumers latched onto mobile — using their phones to research, experience and purchase with ease. Brands are met with the opportunity “to deliver excitement and experience” and “virtually transform the consumer into [their] brand storytelling,” perhaps even tapping old innovations such as the UPC code or QR code to do so.
If nothing else, Blackmore stressed to remember two distinct value — “passion” and “pace” — with “price” another value not too far behind.
Referencing the swell of user-generated content that populates Dealmoon’s feed — images of YSL engraved lipsticks or closets devoted to Hermès Birkin bags — an attendee asked how price coincides with the affinity for luxury purchases?
Well, the Chinese consumer really appreciates being appreciated, so exclusives, deals, etc., will be key differentiators for luxury brands. Either that, or a friend, KOL or family member shared about it on social media.
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