GroupM China, CIC study luxury on social media in mainland

11 August 2011 21 h 10 min 16 comments

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Shanghai – 11 August 2011 – A collaborative research effort by GroupM China and CIC has unveiled Chinese consumers’ behavior and interests in interacting with luxury brands in China.

Using the foremost social media analytical technologies to collect over 2.7 million consumer comments in the Chinese social media arena, the research findings help advertisers in the luxury industry navigate the complex culture and fragmented landscape of China’s digital space, and to effectively participate in the conversation.

“It has been estimated that China will command some 20% share of the global consumption of luxury goods by 2015. Fuelling this lust for luxury is China’s ever growing population of multi-millionaires. The 2011 GroupM Knowledge-Hurun Wealth Report revealed that there were 960,000 people in China with a personal fortune in excess of RMB 10 million in 2010 – an increase of nearly 10% over the previous year. Without a doubt, China has become a most attractive market for luxury brands,” said Lucy Zhang, Futures Director, GroupM Knowledge China.

Thus, it is crucial to find a voice in complement with the brand’s core values and personality on China’s most influential and effective platform.

Some topline findings:

. Louis Vuitton – Most Buzzed Brand in BBS
The first stage in developing an appropriate voice to engage the online conversation is to listen. By listening to the buzz, brands can decode consumer attitudes.  On the traditional digital haven for Chinese luxury fans, online message boards (BBS), Louis Vuitton is number one for buzz, followed by Chanel and Gucci. 
out to be the most engaging brand on Weibo, with 43,001 re-tweets and 5,320 comments in the same period.
. Luxury Buzz and the 80/20 Rule
The luxury category follows Pareto’s Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, that the top 20% of netizens contribute to 80% of the content in related topics. These influencers drive the conversation and their sphere of influence could be leveraged by brands to set trends among consumers. The research has uncovered four character profiles amongst the influencers: the Shopaholic, Style Guru, Fashionista and Brand Fan.
. Showing-off as Top Buzz Driver 

A ‘shai‘ culture has evolved with the development of the luxury market in the digital world, and is mentioned in 90% of the conversations on brands. Essentially, to ‘shai‘ is to show-off your good taste and purchasing power.
. Chinese Consumers are ‘in the Show’
Currently, Chinese netizens can be considered ’in the show‘ phase of enjoying luxury brands. That is to say, consumers are ready and willing to show off their purchasing power but they still lack the know-how to leverage brands to create a stylish and sophisticated lifestyle.
. Discovering a Voice on Weibo








Naturally, the content of tweets has to resonate with the brand’s followers to generate interest and engagement. The research reveals that ‘product introductions’, ‘offline fashion events’ and ‘celebrity or designer’s commentary’ are the most popular subjects for luxury brands. For fashion brands like Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, the content of their tweets are mostly on fashion events and celebrities, while watch brands like IWC and Longines prefer to share category knowledge.
“An essential requirement for understanding the wealthy elite in China is to understand how they influence and are influenced by the massive, unique, fragmented and dynamic social media landscape in China. By listening to their consumers’ talk about luxury and understanding China’s online cultural context, luxury brands can develop a more impactful communications strategy, including leveraging a luxury voice on Weibo (microblog), which resonates with their consumers in meaningful and appropriate way.” commented Sam Flemming, Founder and Chairman, CIC.

SOURCE: GroupM (11/08/2011)


. “Luxury giants score on the web in China” (WARC, 11/08/2011)

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