When young Chinese consumers are on the hunt for the latest fashion trends, the perfect lipstick color, or a photogenic travel destination, they’re increasingly turning to influencers on social shopping app RED.
Called Xiaohongshu (小红书, “Little Red Book”) in Chinese, the app’s now 100 million-strong user base checks it for everything from fashion advice and beauty product reviews to travel and restaurant recommendations. Functioning like a hybrid between Pinterest, Instagram, and a cross-border shopping platform with blogging capabilities, its format has made it a hotbed for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle key opinion leaders (KOLs).
From a list of over 2,000 fashion KOLs on RED, Gartner L2’s report on China’s luxury influencers finds that Chanel, Gucci, and Hermès are the top three brands dominating engagement in KOL mentions. This fits with the demographics of RED’s affluent coastal user base, which remains interested in pure luxury brands.
These weren’t necessarily all brand-sponsored posts—the most popular topic related to Chanel was about vintage products, which took up 15% of all engagement on KOL posts about the brand. Its Gabrielle handbag was the most-mentioned product, while posts about determining product authenticity were also popular.
RED’s official influencer pool has expanded from micro-influencers to mega-celebrities in the past year, helping it surge to its current ranking as the number two social app in China. Its celebrity roster includes superstars like Angelababy, K-pop sensation Wu Xuanyi, and actress Fan Bingbing. Before her recent tax evasion scandal, Fan hosted highly successful beauty product drops for her FANBEAUTY line on the platform that would make Kylie Jenner jealous. The app has also attracted top fashion bloggers like Gogoboi and its most recent addition, “buying goddess” Becky Li, who joined at the end of August this year.
E-commerce remains uncharted territory for luxury brands on RED. Gartner L2 finds that only four luxury brands indexed have opened official stores on the platform, and only two have enlisted influencers to link to their stores. One example was Folli Follie, which invited a KOL to photograph a watch try-on experience in-store and then link their post about it to the brand’s official RED shop.