Xiaohongshu invites top brands to share insights into China’s Gen Z consumers during CIIE
China’s leading lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu hosted “Conversations with Xiaohongshu” during the fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE) this year, inviting well-known brands including Bestore, Forest Cabin, Orion, SHANGHAI Watch and SkinCeuticals to explore the dynamism of new consumption. Centered on the theme “Understanding China’s Gen Z Consumers”, Xiaohongshu discussed with these brands new consumption trends in China and how to co-create with young Chinese consumers to better meet their demands.
Xiaohongshu CMO Wang Yajuan said: “The CIIE is an excellent platform for domestic and overseas brands to meet and interact with Chinese consumers,” adding that many brands will also start to engage consumers online after their debut at the CIIE, and are likely to become trending brands on Xiaohongshu.
Making friends with consumers
Facing the new consumption era in China, brands spoke about how important it is to make friends with their consumers to truly understand their needs.
“Using new communication styles, building new scenarios and delivering brand value consistently are ways to connect with China’s young consumers,” said Bingni Zhang, Joint General Manager of Watch Business Unit at SHANGHAI Watch, in her conversation with Xiaohongshu. Established in 1955, SHANGHAI Watch has refreshed its brand this year through a series of activities such as the debut of “The Monkey King Limited Edition” watch at the CIIE, the launch of its first flagship store at West Nanjing Road, Shanghai, as well as the launch of a new official website and official brand accounts on key social media platforms to increase exposure and attract consumer attention.
For South Korean confectionery company Orion’s Head of China Marketing Jing Bei, a brand should make friends with its consumers to keep up with the times. Since the establishment of its first factory in China in the 1990s, Orion has been rooted in the Chinese market for more than 30 years. “In the past, brands led consumers. But today in the new consumption era, brands are running after consumers,” she said.
“Making friends with users is constant and shouldn’t change with time,” said Zhou Rui, General Manager of Xiaohongshu’s Monetization FMCG Industry Group. He emphasized that in this new consumption era, brands need to make friends with users to have in-depth insights into their needs. As a content community, users on Xiaohongshu are constantly sharing their experiences of using products, and through their posts, brands are able to find out what product values matter to users. These users can help brands pin down the selling points of a product from a consumer perspective, “translate” advertising slogans into “popular slang” that appeal to young people, and create high-quality content for brands to connect with their consumers.
Mary He, Branding Deputy General Manager of SkinCeuticals, expressed a similar view. “The ideas expressed by consumers are the source of inspiration for brands,” she said, adding that brands need to listen to the real feedback of users in order to satisfy their ever-changing skincare needs.
Adapting to changing consumer needs
Zhong Tian, Head of Brand Communications at Bestore, believes that the consumer market is changing rapidly, but users should be at the center of any brand’s strategy. He said: “Even though the solutions to user needs are ever-changing, we should constantly focus on providing consumers with high-quality products and services.”
The essence of a successful brand is top-of-mind awareness. When a brand embarks on its product development strategy from a user perspective, it is able to truly address user needs and resonate with consumers. “There is no secret to attracting consumers. It is to patiently build your product, endure through time, be dedicated to your craftsmanship, and put users at the center of your business,” said Bian Qing, General Manager of Branding, Forest Cabin. Since its establishment in 2003, Forest Cabin has continuously worked hard to refresh its brand, bringing better products and services to the market. “Imagination empowers product development, and inspiration for imagination comes from different settings in day-to-day life, which is why it is a long-term strategy for us to engage with consumers on content platforms such as Xiaohongshu.”
Xiaohongshu, a platform where brands can flourish
Headquartered in Shanghai, Xiaohongshu is a representative of Shanghai’s digital economy, playing an important role in driving the new consumption era by empowering brands to truly connect with China’s Gen Z consumers. With over 200 million monthly active users and over 140,000 brands from more than 200 countries and regions around the world being mentioned on Xiaohongshu, of which over 78,000 are Chinese brands, Xiaohongshu is empowering brands to evolve from “one-way talking at consumers” to “two-way interaction with consumers”, helping them gain resonance among a new generation of consumers, and contributing to a vibrant and growing consumption ecosystem.