China’s traveling luxury consumers are well-known for being price-conscious and tech-savvy, but there’s something else they love to do during and after their trips that can be of massive benefit to luxury brands: share their stories. In a new report by global media company Universal McCann (UM), China’s global high-end shoppers are categorized as “essayists”—meaning that they both desire and share new experiences when traveling and buying goods.
Titled “Shared Stories: The New Global Luxury Storyteller,” the report released on March 26 looks at the unique characteristics of global luxury consumers from China and those from two other emerging markets that are key to the industry. According to UM, each group is a “storyteller” in its own way when it comes to sharing accounts of purchases: China’s “essayists” differ markedly from Russia’s “autobiographers” and the Middle East’s “freestyle poets.” Understanding what is driving Chinese consumers to share positive accounts of their purchases can give brands the knowledge to customize their marketing strategies for this particular group,
“To the ‘essayist,’ luxury means understanding what it means to live like the locals in any city; embracing culture, knowledge and understanding what a brand truly stands for,” the report says. “They want authentic experiences that they cannot access at home, and are hungry to share stories and opinions based on expertise and cultural relevance.”
Above all else, “essayists” are interested in access to online content, according to the report, to learn about the outside world in great detail. Using from another report, UM states that 94 percent of Chinese consumers surveyed used microblogging services within the past six months, compared with the global average of 64 percent. In addition, 85 percent are on social networks and 95 percent are likely to visit a brand’s page, which are also higher rates than the global averages of 80 and 90 percent, respectively.
The report also says that Chinese consumers are more likely to create and share content than those in other markets, making them “ideal brand advocates.” While 57 percent of average global consumers maintain a blog and 53 percent upload videos to share, 88 percent of Chinese consumers write blogs and 66 percent share videos. This propensity to create and share experiences, the report says, is heightened by the country’s high mobile internet penetration rate.
UM advises luxury brands to engage these “essayists” by offering them authentic stories that are real, but still out of the ordinary. According to the report, this detail-oriented group appreciates local partnerships, which reflect sophistication on the brand’s part. Lastly, simply engaging online media is not sufficient: the trick is to offer a digital experience that makes the Chinese “essayists” feel exclusive, such as sending pictures of new, limited-edition products directly through WeChat.