Brands Push to Appeal to Chinese Millenials


There has been a lot of conversation in past decade about engaging the developing world with high fashion. Worldwide there are more millionaires than ever before, and with them millions more consumers with deep pockets. An especially stunning success story is China, where there were 2,378,000 millionaire households as of 2012. With all of the newly wealthy people in China, luxury brands have been working to establish themselves for many years. So far it has paid off, according to a Chinese think tank, in 2015 .8 billion was spent on luxury goods. With such vast potential for profit congruent with the risk of market saturation, it is critical that brands appeal to a new generation of consumers, millenials.

Empowered with economic freedom and, in some cases, their dad’s credit card, young Chinese have unprecedented spending power. They are split into two blocs, “fuerdai” or “rich second generation”, and those who are third generation. “Fuerdai“ are seen to be outlandishly ostentatious, looking to show off their wealth as much as possible. Emblematic of the Fuerdai, an infamous Instagram post where one of China’s richest men snapped his dog wearing its two new gold Apple Watches.

Brands are innovating marketing methods for China’s fuerdai millienials by giving them new ways to broadcast their wealth. According to Chinese publication Jing Daily, Porsche did an integrated promotion with WeChat where if you posted about bringing your car in for service, you would be entitled to a free spa treatment. Another similar promotion by watchmaker Roger Dubuis used WeChat to invite users to take a quiz determining which ,000 watch would best match their lifestyle. WeChat has been a key component, as it is a hybrid platform that encompasses e-commerce, social media, and private communication.

The other camp of young wealthy Chinese is those who have third-generation wealth. Having grown up as a part of the elite, these individuals are less concerned about extravagance as they are about showing their uniqueness and building a lifestyle that they feel is expressive of their sensibilities. According to market research firm China Youthology they care most about “material consumption and a growing cultural consumption. More importantly, [a] quality life must be built around personal choices and filled with one’s individual traits.”

Marketing to the post-90s generation not only involves ways to display wealth, but also emphasizing individualism. Mont Blanc did a live broadcast with Chinese astrology guru Uncle Alex, where he read participants birth charts. It was to promote a new watch the brand was was releasing called the “Bohème.” The promotion was effective, with a live broadcast that reached nearly 2 million viewers.

At the core of these initiatives is a strong digital strategy, which is redefining Chinese luxury to mean expressiveness instead of flamboyance.


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