Rising luxury consumption and shrinking living spaces have boosted China’s decluttering industry, which has been to exceed $3.8 million by 2023.
Marie-Kondo-style “Cleanfluencers” are on the rise on Chinese social media, while the affluent urban class is increasingly buying professional home organization services and attending decluttering workshops.
Brands need to take note of these consumer mentality shifts toward “buy fewer, better” and a newborn passion for creating ordered space.
Nothing seems to stop Chinese consumers from shopping for more luxury and fashion.
Despite the stock market’s panic over China’s crackdown on excessive incomes, which could have dampened luxury sales, major luxury groups have shown strong growth over the latest quarter. In a financial report published on October 12, the French conglomerate LVMH revealed that its organic sales increased 38 percent over its pre-pandemic levels in its Fashion & Leather Goods category. The brand attributed much of this success to “double-digit growth” in China and the US. On October 19, rival group Kering reported a 12.2 percent sales increase, beating analyst expectations. China and its spending-prone consumers continue to be a focus for luxury growth.
But for the Chinese, constantly shopping and accumulating stuff has its downsides: specifically, leading to more cluttered, crowded homes. With rising house prices in Chinese cities that put a premium on space, a need for decluttering and Marie Kondo-inspired organized living has fueled the rise of a new high-end service: the professional organizer (整理收纳师).
According to an industry report by Sina Finance, there are currently more than 7,000 professional organizers in China, while it was estimated that the industry’s worth will exceed $60 million by 2023. In January, the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security listed “professional organizer” as a new valuable occupation, promising more standardizing measures and workforce training programs in the coming years.
On social media, “cleanfuencers” specializing in capsule wardrobe content and minimalist living now appear more frequently. On Zhihu, a Reddit-style online forum, the topic #homeorganization has over 31.7 million followers. And on Xiaohongshu, the hashtag #
This newfound passion for decluttering and space reorganization is an organic result of China’s fast-growing fashion and beauty consumption over the past decade. According to a survey conducted by CBNData, women living in China’s top-tier cities today buy five lipsticks and four makeup brushes per year, on average. Similarly, the Sina research 2020 China Organizing Industry Report revealed that 83 percent of those surveyed have more than 500 garments in their closet, while 91 percent admit they have a hoarding tendency.
Finding storage and organizing solutions for an ordered, clean home has become a new urgency for many HNWIs. Paralleled with the booming professional organizing industry, decluttering workshops and schools have also mushroomed throughout the country to capture the affluent class’ growing need for curated space. The home organization training school Liu Cun Dao, whose name in Chinese means “the philosophy of caring for things,” charges 28,800 RMB ($4,513) for its nine-day professional decluttering course.
Like Marie-Kondo-style organizing media in the West, China’s decluttering content has expanded the concept of cleaning up a physical space into a life-transforming exercise, propelling consumers to view decluttering as a form of self-care. Under this new philosophy, “buy few, better” emphasizes staying up-to-date and holding sophisticated tastes. As such, space decluttering is essential for a lifestyle quality upgrade.
In addition to the mentality shift to fewer but better, Chinese fans of decluttering are increasingly ritualizing the process of space organizing by investing in premium organization pieces. O’Mast, a Shenzhen-based luxury hanger brand (founded by the cleanfluencer Bracy Hu in 2017), specializes in premium hangers for different categories of clothes, and O’Mast has become one of the most-talked-about brands in China’s decluttering community.
On the platform Xiaohongshu, a decluttering fan group has increasingly posted top-end organizers by luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Celine, and Rapport London. Organizing, storing, and caring for luxury purchases have clearly become a new point of fascination for China’s luxury community.
This expanding concept of mindful decluttering should have a profound impact on brands. In the past, brands could focus solely on making more attractive products for China’s consumers; today, they face the extra challenge of making themselves more relevant to consumers’ growing needs and rituals.