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China’s e-commerce industry is predicted to be worth approximately $175bn by 2024. That’s incredible news.

With over 300 million users on Xiaohongshu, or Little Red Book in English, it is one of the fastest-growing advanced social commerce apps on the market.

Little Red Book offers significant opportunities for international brands to leverage their potential and build a strong presence in China. It’s why global big hitters like Louise Vuitton and YSL are clamoring to advertise on the platform. It’s a must-have Chinese marketing channel for businesses in the ever-changing digital landscape.

Evolution of Little Red Book

Social media recommendation has become the primary way Chinese consumers discover new products and decide on purchases, with Little Red Book a key medium for consumer sharing and searching.

As of July 2019, the platform had over 300 million registered users between 18 and 35 years old. They’re affluent, keen to travel and have an appetite for the latest goods, services and trends.

  • 90% of users are under 32 years old.

  • 80% are female, with a rapidly-growing male audience.

  • Over 60% are from tier one and two cities.

Chinese consumers depend on peer groups and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) for product ideas and insights. That’s why e-commerce and Little Red Book have excelled in recent years. The latter’s powered an innovative way of Chinese social media marketing – one to throw into your brand marketing toolbox.  

Founded in 2013, Little Red Book originally filled an important gap by allowing female shoppers to share their prized purchases and gather reviews for the first time. Now it’s a premium service for celebrities and consumers to communicate lifestyle and buying experiences.

What’s Little Red Book used for?

As Chinese consumers’ preferred app for researching products, its main focus is on luxury goods, beauty, fashion, travel and lifestyle. However, men’s fashion, fitness, education, digital technology and home furnishings are now fast-growing categories. Aspirational trends are prominently showcased, enabling buyers to discover the latest products.

Little Red Book stands out from other e-commerce platforms in distinct ways. It utilizes user-generated content, inspiration and online community building to produce detailed real-time shopping information for users to absorb, learn from and enjoy.

Closely partnering with KOLs and celebrity product endorsers, Little Red Book adds yet another dimension to an item’s allure to buyers, securing confidence and trust to invest. Popular among Chinese gen Z and millennials, it’s a unique user community and e-commerce platform with multiple features:

  • Livestreaming and viewing

  • Video and photo posting

  • Long article creation

  • Hashtag and trending topic/product searching

  • Browse/buy from a brand’s pages

  • Browse/buy from Little Red Book affiliate products

  • Open a Little Red Book store mini program

With the introduction of livestreaming in 2019, Little Red Book added another string to its bow. Subsequently, the explosion of vlogging exceeded all expectations, and had a noticeable impact on the app, enormously increasing brand exposure.

What’s in it for brands?

According to the app, there are 300bn posts viewed every day, with more than 70% of them being user-generated content. Chinese consumers engage with an average of eight digital touchpoints before committing to buy.

One of the amazing benefits of Little Red Book is that international firms have access to it, allowing them to capitalize on a direct connection with their audience. Additionally, Little Red Book allows brands to engage and sell to their target market using a filtering algorithm that tailors content to users’ tastes.

Advertising in feeds on the app is the most efficient way to reach consumers. The ideal content is user friendly and authentic, giving clear reasons to interact.  A variety of long-form and multimedia, covering a range of angles dependent on objectives and industry topics, works best.

Little Red Book holds considerable potential for international brands new to the Chinese market, together with those expanding their existing company base and wanting valuable feedback on their products.

Why not join Little Red Book’s growth? 

Little Red Book has seen unprecedented growth over the past five years, and livestreaming is touted to be the top trend in 2021. Whether it’s monitoring consumer sentiment, conducting reputation management or nurturing the sales funnel, it’s an essential channel for marketers.

Whatever industry you’re in, it’s impossible to ignore this pioneering platform. It’s a key portal for consumer sharing and searching, and an indispensable one to add to your daily marketing mix. 

Want to explore Little Red Book in more detail? Download our comprehensive in-depth guide revealing consumer journeys and Top 10 Tips for successful and innovative marketing and selling in this digital marketplace.

Rocky Chi is head of planning at Emerging Communications.