Fifty percent of China’s outbound travelers are young Chinese 15-29 years old, and 40% of luxury purchases made by Chinese consumers are made abroad. Luxury brands who don’t target young Chinese with travel influencers are missing out on a huge chunk of the Chinese luxury market.
Luckily, there are two main ways you can grab the attention of young Chinese: share your brand’s distinctive identity through social media and engage with Chinese travel influencers.
What do young Chinese want from a product or brand?
Chinese Millennials love to be unique and show off, unlike previous generations who sought to fit in. Millennials have a “mianzi” mentality. They want to distinguish themselves from others by demonstrating their one-of-a-kind taste.
At the same time, they are eager to be seen as global citizens and are avid consumers of luxury brands. In fact, China was the 4th largest luxury goods market in 2016, taking up 7% of global luxury sales.
This interesting dichotomy — desiring individuality while also wanting to purchase famous brands — means capsule collections, co-branding, collaborations, and personalized products are excellent ways to capture the attention of young Chinese. Excellent examples of this are Mr. Bags’ recent collaboration with luxury handbag line TODs and the limited edition blue Mini Coopers sold by Becky Li.
Travel influencers are the best way to guide Chinese luxury spending abroad
The examples above demonstrate that even though young Chinese consumers seek personal expression, they are also highly influenced by influencers on social media. They look to influencers for guidance in their purchasing decisions. Their way of developing new buying habits is also unique. First, they engage, then research, and finally purchase.
They often become aware of new trends not only through social media but specifically through fashion, travel, and other lifestyle influencers on social media platforms. To them, advice from trusted influencers is similar to advice from a friend.
Chinese customers value word-of-mouth advice more than other types of advertising. Now, with the popularity of live streaming platforms, millennial consumers feel even closer to these thought leaders because these platforms give opportunities to communicate interactively. And in the case of a travel influencer, audiences are exposed to a whole new set of exciting destinations and brand integrated experiences. Airbnb and Calvin Klein have recently leveraged influencers and social content to generate mass appeal to their brands while providing a valuable and engaging content offering to their target customer.
It is also important to note that millennials are not online for long stretches of time, but rather make use of fragmented time to be online. In other words, they check social media when they have a couple of spare minutes to avoid boredom and to stay connected with the world. Brands must consider how to capture millennials’ attentions within such short and fragmented time frames.
Avoid focusing solely on the domestic market
While many luxury brands are focused on entering the China market and capturing domestic spending, it is important to look at how Chinese spend money when they travel overseas.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, 50% of China’s outbound travelers are 15- 29 years old, and 40% of purchases made by Chinese luxury consumers are made abroad.
There are several reasons for choosing to purchase items abroad. The most obvious is that some items are not available in China. However, even if an item is available within China, consumers trust the quality and authenticity of luxury goods that are purchased abroad. Tax is also very high on imported luxury goods in China so consumers often save money by purchasing abroad. Plus, Chinese travelers don’t just make purchases for themselves but buy gifts to bring back for friends, family, and coworkers.
Key takeaways for luxury brands
- Young Chinese are a huge market
- The best way to engage with them is through social media, and influencers in particular
- Short and sweet – capture their attention quickly with quick consumable content as they hop on and off platforms throughout the day