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Little Red Book: Top Social Media Trends for 2021

A five-part handbook on China’s biggest social media platforms and innovations

In the past year, Chinese consumers demonstrated remarkable resilience, transforming readily with media, retail and in particular, digital. This acceleration has been spearheaded by China’s young generation, reshaping what consumer culture looks like on a global level. A click of a button, a tap on a screen or an emoji post can collectively direct the future of any given organisation, institution and even government. And, with almost a billion citizens in total having access to the internet nationwide, social media is no longer a recreational pastime. It’s become a function central to their day-to-day lives, delivering connectivity, convenience and contributing to China’s new normal.

Bringing together platform highlights, ones to watch and expert opinion from the TONG Activation team, this five-part series addresses emerging technologies, innovations and consumer shifts happening across China digital today and tomorrow.

Little Red Book 小红书, a.k.a. RED, is the home of beauty and fashion shopping for China’s consumers. Founded in 2014, it now boasts over 100 million users.

The app is a combination of a shopping platform and social media community where consumers can share product, styling and inspirational content. Many users provide authentic reviews for other consumers offering insight into the value, function and affordability of an item.

Platform Highlights

Approachability:

Known as the home for fashion, beauty and lifestyle inspiration, RED is growing quickly to become a destination for consumers to explore more categories across travel, art and culture, photography, interior design, pets, fitness and wellbeing. Much like how one would use Pinterest, users can explore the topics through a visual-first ecosystem. Many users leverage the platform as a validation tool to research new brands or products before purchase. Functions also allow items or images of interest to be added as “notes”(笔记) to wishlists, personalising each user’s feed and experience.

The RED Consumer Community:

On RED, 77% of its user base are women, with approximately 85% of these users being under the age of 35 according to Statista. Nearly two thirds of active users are residing in Tier 1 cities across China, making this platform highly valuable for marketers in Luxury sectors looking to engage affluent city dwellers. Recognising the opportunity, brands at home and abroad such as Chanel, Dior and Perfect Diary create tailored RED strategist to engage with communities and influencers of all sizes.

Strong Celebrity and KOL Presence:

Across the app, users will encounter plenty of female celebrities and KOLs posting lifestyle content, skincare tips, makeup tutorials and daily outfit inspiration.

Kiki (包包比价狂Kiki), a popular KOL with over 69,000 followers on the app, uses her platform to share and compare her favourite high end handbags, even partnering with the likes of Prada, Saint Laurent and Longchamp. Through unboxings, care routines and investment tip videos, Kiki connects directly with her audience through sharing insights for those investigating the finer details before making the purchase.

As a hotbed for product discussion, international celebrities are starting to explore RED as an opportunity to secure more brand partnerships and connect with new audiences as well.

iReseach, 2020
iReseach, 2020

Ones To Watch

Livestreaming:

Weiduo Chen, TONG’s Senior Activation Manager predicts “the top trend we expect to see on RED in 2021 is undoubtedly livestreaming”.

Keen to expand and grow platform capabilities, RED developers are working to further combine ecommerce together with the app’s community and entertainment functions as a "one-stop shop" shopping model. Integrated within the app itself, the livestreaming component will be competing with retail giants like Alibaba and JD.com.

The new function so far has met expectations, allowing users to present and host products with links to shop thus funneling immediate leads and converting to sales. The rollout of this will be a big draw for advertisers, with global players like KKW Beauty and YSL embracing this readily.

One example of early adoption is Louis Vuitton, who launched their SS20 collection in-platform via livestream featuring curated KOLs and their Chinese celebrity ambassadors such as Yvonne Ching 程晓玥.

Perfect Diary on Little Red Book & Louis Vuitton Livestream on Little Red Book 2021 hosted by Yvonne Ching 程晓玥
Perfect Diary on Little Red Book & Louis Vuitton Livestream on Little Red Book 2021 hosted by Yvonne Ching 程晓玥

This is part four of a five part series on Chinese social media platforms covering WeChat, Bilibili, Douyin, Weibo and RED. To read the other four articles, visit our Intelligence page.

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