Chinese Men's Surprising Online Shopping Lists

    Chinese men -- particularly younger men -- are interested in fashion and cosmetics. With sales booming, brands need to take notice of their preferences.
    Chinese men are shopping online for fashionable products, including cosmetics. Photo: Shutterstock
    Binglun HeAuthor
      Published   in Beauty

    While the “She-conomy” (她经济) in China has thrived, its counterpart, the “He-conomy” -- or to be more specific, male consumer consumption -- has also been growing, albeit quietly. Aiming to better understand this market, Taobao released a sweeping report summarizing male consumer purchases made on the retail platform in the 12 months ending November 30, 2018. The report covers categories like apparel, beauty and skincare, and tech gadgets, as well as personal care products.

    Here's what Jing Daily learned from the report:

    1. Men are fashionistas, too#

    Thanks to the growing popularity of hip-hop music in China, sales of hip-hop-related fashion products zoomed by 420 percent on Taobao in the period. “Streetwear” is taking advantage of this trend as the styles share similarities, with sales increasing 185 percent in the same period. Among the popular streetwear brands (including the big international runway brands) that found success in 2018, Chinese domestic streetwear was a surprising contender, as domestic companies garnered over 40 million web searches and increased sales by 270 percent year-on-year.

    2. They care about their personal image#

    Chinese men today are paying more attention to their professional and formal looks, as well as their casual daily wardrobes. Three-piece suits are becoming more popular, and cufflinks sales jumped by 27 percent this year. Other than simply putting more thought into their attire, Chinese men also have become more aware of overall fitness. Working out is now a part of their daily lifestyle, and men are buying more at-home workout equipment than in previous years. But they’re also aware of nutrition in their quests to look and feel better, and sales of health-related items like protein powder have steadily risen.

    3. Men moisturize#

    Sales of male beauty products, like anti-wrinkle face creams and moisturizers, increased by 140 percent over the past year. Even sales of male makeup have exploded, with the top three most popular makeup products being foundation, eyeliner, and concealer.

    4. Post-'90s men want a healthy lifestyle#

    It’s almost time for China's post-'90s men to enter their thirties, and they want to take care of wellness issues right away. Due to the pressures of work and education, men born in the 1990s are already suffering hair loss, in some cases earlier on average than their fathers did. In 2018, sales of hair restorer and anti-hair loss products on Taobao doubled from the previous year, and the majority of those consumers were millennials.

    The report breaks down Chinese male consumption behavior neatly, but it also exposes some more general trends, such as the way that successful young, male superstars (aka “little fresh meat”) have led Chinese men to focus more on their daily attire and personal care. But it doesn’t end there. Chinese male consumers are also paying more for leisure activities, with a 10 percent increase in sales of skiing equipment and GoPro cameras, and a massive 260 percent year-on-year increase in purchases of drones and aerial devices.

    Chinese men, especially the younger generations, simply seem to treat themselves better these days by taking care of their looks, health, wellness, and even their play time.

    Discover more
    Daily BriefAnalysis, news, and insights delivered to your inbox.