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Chinese Millennials and Gen Z ‘Like to Show Off’ by Buying These Luxury Brands

Dealmoon, a luxury retail site favored by Chinese millennial shoppers, has released a list of the site’s most coveted fashion items.

The online retailer hosted the Dealmoon Fashion Awards in August, which tallied 121,815 consumer votes across 21 categories to determine 2019’s hottest products. The site, which garners 17.6 million clicks per month, features classic and emerging designer handbags, sneakers, dresses, heels, flats, watches, jewelry, luggage and men’s wear.

The list of award-winning items can help luxury brands determine how to reach Dealmoon’s consumer demographic most effectively with a well-merchandised mix of product, the company said in a statement.

Dealmoon has garnered incredible clout with young Chinese shoppers, who are projected to consume 45 percent of the world’s luxury product inventory by 2025, according to a report from Bain & Co. The company has 10 million social followers on Weibo and WeChat, and the Dealmoon app has been downloaded 3 million times. Since the company launched in 2009, brands have sold over $1 billion through the platform.

While the typical Dealmoon shopper often favors designer items, 2019’s winners were a bit more diverse than years past.

“This consumer initially gravitates toward high-ticket items from Gucci, Hermès and Balenciaga. But our users’ top five choices also included a $49 Zara dress and $55 Converse sneakers,” Jennifer Wang, Dealmoon’s chief marketing officer and co-founder, said. “It was fun to see how sneakers are defining the fashion game this year making comfortable fashion the most sought-after trend.”

Sneakers were a popular category for female Dealmoon shoppers in 2019, with Alexander McQueen’s white leather platforms leading the grouping. Men gravitated toward Kanye West’s Yeezy Boost 350.

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Despite their decline in favor in some Western circles, high heels continue to be popular with young Chinese women, and Jimmy Choo’s silver goatskin Romy mid-heel pumps won with consumers. Bally’s Janelle leather slippers led the flats category.

When it came to men’s apparel, luxury streetwear reigned supreme, much as it does stateside. Thom Browne’s sweatshirt sets were the most coveted items for men, while Rimowa luggage proved popular with both men and women.

Handbags, ever the status symbol, remain a highly coveted item, with Chanel’s Classic quilted leather and chain handle flap bag, a small Strathberry cross body bag, and Issey Miyake’s Lucent Metallic tote grabbing the top three spots.

According to Bain & Co., Chinese Gen Z consumers will be the “segment to watch” when it comes to luxury over the coming years and “the single most important demographic on the planet today,” Rose Blackmore, senior managing director, partnerships for Dealmoon, shared at the WWD Digital Forum Wednesday. This cohort wields significant spending power, a tendency to impulse buy, and a proud and empowered attitude when it comes to consumerism, Bain said.

While half of all Chinese luxury purchases will occur in Mainland China, Bain expects to see significant growth in the Americas, too.

“The Chinese consumers used to be driven by big names, big campaigns, big celebrities,” Blackmore said. “While this still holds true, I think there’s a definitive shift where this consumer is looking for interesting products and services that are relevant to their own lifestyle.”

Many of these affluent Chinese consumers “like to show off,” Blackmore added.

And this highly digital and mobile audience prefers content created by microinfluencers who they view as authentic. “Microinfluencers go hand-in-hand with this community,” Blackmore said. Celebrities and high-profile influencers still have a place within the social media community but the Dealmoon executive believes purchasing decisions will shift to where they’ll be solely “influenced by the community the audience interacts in.”

Microinfluencers tend to foster stronger engagement with followers and offer deeper brand experience and knowledge as well. Blackmore said that while many Westerners are familiar with the Chinese term “key opinion leader,” which translates to “influencer,” “key opinionated consumer” is gaining in popularity there as well and speaks to the democratization of influence into the consumer spheres.

There’s tangible evidence that microinfluencers really can move product for brands. After a new luxury handbag launch on Dealmoon failed to garner any interest (save for two purchased by Dealmoon’s CEO to kickstart sales, Blackmore noted), the platform rebooted the campaign with the help of microinfluencer content and “every single bag sold out within seven hours,” the executive explained.

Even though China’s young luxury consumers have money to spend, they remain extremely savvy about price and “what things cost,” Blackmore noted, and always want to be sure they’re getting the best deal. They like receiving GWPs and TOAs (gifts with purchases and tokens of appreciation) as a way of feeling rewarded for their purchases. And both exclusives and pre-launch sales resonate deeply with this audience as well, she added.

To win over China’s moneyed Gen Z and millennial shoppers, brands must find a way to make “full price meaningful,” Blackmore concluded.

 

Additional reporting by Jessica Binns.