• Kelly Hu, Doris Ke

What is Little Red Book and Why Should Global Brands Jump on it?

For global retail brands, China and its 1.39 billion people is the holy grail. China’s e-commerce industry is predicted to be worth ¥1.8 trillion (~$258 million) by 2022, and a large chunk of this growth is expected to come from the fashion and luxury goods market.

What is Little Red Book?

Little Red Book or "LRB", one of China’s most trusted social platforms, is known for user-generated content (UGC) of sharing and discussion of products purchased overseas. Based in Shanghai, it helps over 100 million users - mostly younger women - to discover and review beauty and fashion products that can be hard to find in China. This represents a fantastic opportunity for global brands to build their market presence in China, which is also why big players like Chanel and Dior are paying so much attention to the platform.

Instead of a shopping platform, LRB is rather a content-sharing site, where users can either post product photos or videos with reviews and tips for other users to read, comment, and save to their boards - like Pinterest, or do the same during a live-streaming session. Therefore, many perceive LRB as a product search and recommendation engine or Instagram and Pinterest sprinkled with a dose of Taobao. In contrast with other e-commerce platforms, LRB focuses on a unique blend of trusted UGC, word of mouth advertising, and online community-building.

So far the data has proven it to be a huge hit with young urban Chinese women, who often struggle to find trusted sources of product information. Essentially, 90% of these users are middle or upper-class women with higher degrees of disposable income. This is an incredibly lucrative market for global fashion and cosmetics brands.

Which industries are LRB best suited for?

With its strong focus on the beauty and fashion markets, Little Red Book has set itself aside from other Chinese social media and e-commerce platforms such as WeChat and Weibo. This content focus, plus the unique demographics of LRB's user base, make it a great fit for luxury beauty brands like Dior and Chanel, as well as high-end cosmetic brands like Fenty and Lancôme.

However, LRB also features a lot of content about lifestyle products such as nutritional supplements. Posts concerning tourism and overseas destinations are also popular, with a lot of travel bloggers getting in on the action. Helpfully, LRB also features an “explore” section, letting viewers explore other users’ content on topics like fashion, food, and travel.

These features help show the versatility of the platform, with huge opportunities for global brands throughout the lifestyle and beauty industries, including cosmetics, clothing, and travel products.

Next, we’ll take a look at how global brands are using LRB to drive sales.

How are global brands using LRB?

Currently, there are around 8,000 verified brands featuring products on LRB, including many major global brands. Even Kim Kardashian is getting in on the action, creating an official account in late 2018 to help promote her makeup line, KKW. In an effort to appeal to the local audience, a lot of global brands are translating their packaging into Mandarin, and are partnering with Chinese KOLs. This includes Chanel, Gucci and Dior, all of whom have all enlisted Chinese celebrities for their ads. In late 2018, Little Red Book also opened a “brand partner platform”, a fea ture aimed at connecting brands with influencers and KOLs to arrange for sponsored content.

If you’re a global luxury or lifestyle brand looking to boost your presence in the Chinese market, it pays to take the time and effort to build your familiarity with this unique platform.

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