Chinese Millennials and Gen Z have been stealing the KOL marketing spotlight lately. Though it is true that the vast majority of KOLs are Millennials and Gen Z, it would be a mistake to assume that KOL marketing can’t reach Chinese parents, adults, and seniors.
While millennials contribute greatly to the retail market, they are still behind older consumers on average in terms of their wealth as well as their willingness to spend. And while millennial consumers’ are likely to overtake non-millennials in spending within the next 5-10 years, the spending gap between the two won’t be as large as you think. Remember: Non-millennials’ spending will continue to rise as well.
There is a stigma that Chinese parents, adults, and seniors are extremely frugal. While this may be true now, it will change in the future. A recent McKinsey study found that today’s 45- to 54-year-olds have spending patterns similar to 34- to 45-year-olds (who allocate 34 percent of their spending to food and 14 percent to apparel). This suggests that companies will have to rethink their ideas about older Chinese consumers, who may not be as thrifty as previously thought.
It might also come as a surprise that many of these older consumers are savvy mobile users and online shoppers. A recent study by KPMG and Mei.com reveals that 81 percent of non-millennials claim to shop online at least once a week, and 15 percent once every 2-3 weeks. Thirteen percent said KOLs influence their purchasing decisions and 16 percent said the same of social media recommendations (compared with 20 percent in both categories for millennials.)
And while KOL marketing is not restricted to millennials and Gen Z, brands looking to target Chinese parents, adults, and seniors obviously need to collaborate with influencers who fit their target market, which may seem tough to do, considering that the majority of KOLs we see in the media tend to be relatively young. However, non-millennial KOLs, or those born before 1982, do exist. Here are a number of them in a few different industries.
KOLs That Influence Chinese Parents, Adults, and Seniors
Travel influencer @行走40国
Travel is one of the easiest industries to find non-millennial and Gen Z KOLs. There are numerous excellent options including @行走40国, who, with over 3 million followers, is one of the China travel industry’s most recognized KOLs. He is a published author and frequently appears on travel TV programs.
Another choice is @无须豆蔻, an award-winning travel blogger with over 800,000 followers on Weibo. She frequently works with top brands including Audi, Gore-Tex and many others.
Senior Tavel KOL Couple @花甲背包客
And perfect for targeting senior travelers are @花甲背包客 — an adorable, globe-trotting couple in their mid-60s. They were recently named one of the top travel influencers of 2017 by online travel platform Qyer.
French F&B KOL @安闹闹的闹厨房
The F&B industry also has its share of older KOLs. While he looks too young to be included in this category, French food blogger Antoine Bunal @安闹闹的闹厨房 is, in fact, a non-millennial. Antoine is the #1 foreign food influencer in China, and in 2016 he earned a spot on Topklout’s Top 100 Influencers on Chinese Social Media.
Husband and father @美食家大雄, just outside of the range of millennial, is an excellent choice with over 5 million followers.
Another to follow is nutritionist @蔻蔻的甜与蜜.
Executive publisher of Harper’s Bazaar China @苏芒
Some of the most respected figures in China’s fashion industry are non-millennials, including the Editor in Chief and CEO of Elle China @晓雪 and @苏芒,the president and CEO of Trends Media Group and executive publisher of Harper’s Bazaar China.
Targeting the older male demographic is @康威凯, Head of Europe for China’s leading online watch news website.
Lifestyle KOL @曾焱冰
Former managing editor of Vogue China and author Zeng Yanbing @曾焱冰 has attracted a large following of high net-worth women in their late 30s and early 40s who are seeking to improve their aesthetics and taste.
Educational KOL @罗振宇
In the business and education sphere, being older is seen as an advantage indicating wisdom, experience and knowledge. @罗振宇 is the host of his own immensely popular online talk show Logical Thinking (Luoji Siwei) and founder of the knowledge sharing app iGet (得到). @新东方王江涛 is a famous teacher associated with the New Oriental English training organisation.
KOL marketing doesn’t need to be restricted to millennial and Gen Z consumers. Chinese parents, adults, and seniors are an important market segment and there are plenty of KOLs who can help you reach them.