The birth of a child is a life-changing moment in many people’s lives and will influence the parents’ behaviour and consumption habits. As more and more of China’s millennials become mothers, the ‘mini-me’ culture will start to impact even luxury brands. 

Young Chinese mothers are more susceptible to peer pressure due to the country’s large social media penetration and the use of popular apps such as WeChat and XiaoHongShu. They look up to KOLs (Key Opinion Leader) and celebrities, and will try their hands at content creation on these platforms, which is the perfect place to show off their own ‘mini-me’ adventures. Popular ‘kidfluencers’ can bring in big checks for their families (Forbes estimated that Ryan of Ryan Toysreview was this “year’s highest-paid YouTube star, earning $22 million in the 12 months leading up to June 1, 2018,”), and many mothers recognise the ‘mini-me’ trend as a winning social media content creation strategy. 

It is reported that the global luxury childrenswear market shot up to $6.6 billion in 2018. In China, the growth in this sector doubled over the past 12 months. Young Chinese mothers tend to have a higher level of disposable income than their Western counterparts, and spoiling their children in a culture that emphasizes on ‘status’ is an easy choice to make. 

Considering young, internet-savvy Chinese consumers’ appetite for all things social, we foresee nothing but further growth in the mini-me market in the future. Skeptics would be wise to look at the success of Baby Dior in China, which all started from a simple picture posted on the brand’s Weibo account by a Dior staffer of “a Lalei dressed in head-to-toe cream and lace Dior.” From that one image, Mothers quickly became addicted to the Baby Dior collections, and the company’s sales skyrocketed.

For brands that want to capitalise on the matchy-matchy trend in China, here are some considerations of Chinese mothers’ shopping preference in this sector. 

  • Infantisation (‘meng’)

There seems to be an ongoing ‘infantilizing’ of culture and beauty standards in China. While in the West, marketing campaigns promote sexual attributes, in Asian societies, women try to look cute or “meng.” This fascination with everything childish, naïve, and youthful can be seen in the rise of manga culture, and the magazine Sixth Tone reports that international brands are often forced to “infantilize their businesses in order to connect with the lucrative Chinese market” due to the massive popularity of cuteness in China. 

  • Pragmatism over big brands

At one point in time, luxury equals big brands. As younger consumers become more savvy, they are behaving more like their counterparts in the West. Smaller upcoming ‘luxury’ brands and niche brands will find bigger market potential in China as consumers are moving away from their ‘brand-obsessed’ phase. Leni Muntaner, co-founder of the Spanish label Fresh Dinosaurs said China’s changing sense of style, and consumers’ priority on design and functionality over just a brand name has meant good business for his company. Their fun and colorful designs have resonated well with Chinese consumers who favor ever-more-youthful styles.

This article is adapted from Jing Daily’s article‘China’s “Mini-Me” Culture is Perfect for Luxury Brands’, originally published on November 3, 2019. To read the original article please click here

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