Social Media May Be Killing Makeup Sales in the West, But It’s Boosting Them in China

In this year’s Singles Day—a Nov. 11 Alibaba confection that has become the world’s biggest sales event by some margin—the hottest category was cosmetics. That’s according to Vincent Qiu, the CEO of e-commerce solutions provider Baozun, who shared insights about the event Monday at the Fortune Global Forum in Paris. “In this [Singles Day] event we are seeing cosmetics grow the fastest among all the categories,” Qui said. “Social media helps us a lot,” he adds, pointing to the growing popularity of live-streaming. That’s an interesting fact, given that social media has also been identified as the vector for the spread of the VSCO Girl phenomenon in the U.S. and elsewhere. But Qiu’s point was reinforced by Annie Young-Scrivner, CEO of the luxury chocolate brand Godiva.

Read the complete article by David Meyer at Fortune.

TikTok Reaches 1.5 Billion Downloads, Seeks to Distance Itself from Chinese Government Links

TikTok’s popularity doesn’t appear to be slowing. According to the latest data from Sensor Tower, the short video app has now exceeded 1.5 billion downloads worldwide, making it the third most downloaded, non-gaming app of the year (after WhatsApp and Messenger). There’s a lot to like for social media marketers, and TikTok could well be for real, and could be set for a major rise in 2020. On the other hand, TikTok is also under investigation over its potential links to the Chinese Government. TikTok is working to distance itself from such claims. This week, Alex Zhu, one of the founders of, and a current leader at TikTok, spoke to The New York Times about such concerns and how his company sees it:

Read the complete article by Andrew Hutchinson at Social Media Today.

Why Luxury-Mass Collaborations are Booming in China

In 2004, the Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M entered into a collaborative partnership with Karl Lagerfeld creating a capsule collection that was an instant success. Since then, the retail world has seen various luxury-mass collaborations, such as H&M partnering with Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Comme des Garçons, Versace, and Maison Martin Margiela or Target and Isaac Mizrahi, Thakoon, Jason Wu, and 3.1 Phillip Lim. These collaborations proved to be a very successful formula for retailers in the West. Analysts, however, wondered if the performance and success of lower-priced collections could be replicated even in China. The answer, it turns out, is yes.

Read the complete article by Adina-Laura Achim at Jing Daily.

Burberry aims to woo more customers in China with Tencent tie-up

British luxury brand Burberry BRBY.L on Thursday said it has joined forces with China’s Tencent 0700.HK for a new digital marketing and sales push to tap the nation’s increasingly social media savvy shoppers in a critical luxury market. Burberry said it will open a so-called “social retail” store in Shenzhen in China’s technology hub powered by Tencent technology in the first half of next year that will blend retail and social media to create digital and physical spaces aimed at attracting customers. But with its popular Wechat Pay online payment platform and Weibo’s vast social media clout in one of the world’s largest luxury goods market, Tencent offers Burberry a one-stop shop for marketing and selling its products online and in stores. Tencent’s Wechat is China’s dominant chat app.

Read the complete article by Tanishaa Nadkar at Nasdaq.

App Watch: Alibaba’s Ruwo Courts Gen Zers in the Classroom

Ruwo is targeting a perceived yearning for authenticity, as that idea is often associated with Gen Z consumers. The platform promises that its users can “share and discover real people, real things, and real feelings.” Users can scan friends’ faces to add them to their network, use a celebrity face-match feature, and use an array of filters and stickers. These new platforms are battling it out to emulate WeChat’s success, but they should each offer a distinctly different user experience from Tencent’s all-conquering app. This is mostly due to growing disillusionment with WeChat’s ubiquity, prying family members and friends, and overbearing, influencer-driven commercial content. Research by QuestMobile shows a decline in WeChat usage, suggesting that users are looking for alternatives. WeChat users spent 32.4 hours on the platform in June 2019, compared to 35.4 hours in December 2018 — a drop of  8.6 percent.

Read the complete article by Jessica Rapp at Jing Daily.

Gold Lacks Appeal for Young Chinese Luxury Shoppers

China’s Generation Z may be willing to spend more on luxury goods, but they’re not as keen on gold as their older compatriots. That’s according to survey by the World Gold Council, which showed just 12 percent of those aged 18 to 22 intend to buy gold jewellery in the coming year, much less than the millennial generation and people over 39. Their emotional connection with gold jewellery also “seems particularly weak” compared with other countries, the council said. The changing tastes among China’s young adults may signal a warning for the gold industry, which counts China as its biggest buyer. There are already signs that global gold demand has recently been driven more by exchange-traded fund investors than jewellery purchases.

Read the complete article by Bloomberg at Business of Fashion.

Rimowa CEO and son of LVMH head on luxury luggage brand’s revamp and why he’s not targeting millennials

When LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault’s son Alexandre was named CEO of Rimowa in 2016 at the tender age of 25, the 121-year-old German luggage maker had a loyal following among frequent travellers, especially in China and the rest of Asia, but its slightly dusty image was in need of a refresh. Germany is still Rimowa’s largest market in terms of sales, but when it comes to its buyers, the Chinese top the list, followed by German and US nationals. “It’s very dangerous to make brands only targeted at millennials. You have examples of those brands targeted at millennials that have been growing very fast and now are slowing down because it’s not cool any more,” Arnault says. “It’s a coincidence that we’ve been doing things that target millennials but it was never the intention. As a millennial myself, if I see a brand targeting me it drives me away. A lot of our old customers may not know who [Off-White founder] Virgil Abloh is but they like the idea of a transparent suitcase and we sold thousands of them.”

Read the complete article by Vincenzo La Torre at South China Morning Post.