Why American Gen Z can’t get enough of Miniso

    Chinese lifestyle brand Miniso is aggressively expanding worldwide, with plans to open 1,000 stores in 2024. And it’s all thanks to Gen Z.
    To celebrate the launch of its American Dream Mall store, Miniso unveiled a swimming pool-themed photo area in the mall’s atrium. Photo: Miniso
      Published   in Retail

    Boasting cute, low-cost consumer goods and big-name collaborations, Chinese retailer Miniso is bent on becoming a global lifestyle super-brand. The launch of its new New Jersey location brings it one step closer to realizing this goal.

    On May 3, Miniso unveiled its new flagship store at the American Dream Mall, the second-largest shopping center in the US. This location is its first “IP Collection Store” in the country, featuring collaborations with popular license holders like Sanrio, Disney, and Barbie.

    New Jersey’s American Dream Mall hosts Miniso’s first IP Collection Store in the US. Photo: Miniso
    New Jersey’s American Dream Mall hosts Miniso’s first IP Collection Store in the US. Photo: Miniso

    Miniso’s entry into New Jersey follows the successful launch of its New York City Times Square flagship store in May 2023. On opening day, the store generated $80,000 in sales, setting a record for the brand. In its first month, it attracted 60,000 customer visitors and achieved sales that were eight times higher than the average sales of Miniso’s other stores in the US.

    With over 120 locations nationwide, the US stands as one of Miniso’s most important markets. According to Miniso Group’s 2023 financial results, revenue from the North America region surged 128 percent YoY to $160 million, outpacing other markets, excluding China. This impressive growth helped drive total revenue up 39.4 percent to $1.9 billion in 2023.

    IP collabs spark Gen Z joy#

    Miniso’s success largely stems from what it calls “interest-driven consumption,” a concept proposed by Miniso Group’s CEO Ye Guofu in 2020.

    This means that consumers aren’t just focused on price or function, but also seek products that “bring them emotional value, match their personality, and fit their preferences,” says Bella Tu, Miniso’s vice president and general manager of overseas markets.

    “The majority of Miniso’s consumers are aged 18 to 35, particularly Gen Z. They tend to prioritize trends and affordability while also valuing quality. Our focus on aesthetic design and affordable pricing, which align with consumer interests, is the core element that distinguishes us in the retail market,” she says.

    One way that Miniso promotes interest-driven consumption is through intellectual property (IP) collaborations.

    As Tu says, “Famous IPs often come with their own fan base. Through IP collaborations, Miniso can attract those fan groups who emotionally identify with the IP characters, allowing them to own their favorite IP products at an affordable price, bringing them joy.”

    At the same time, IP products help consumers express their individuality “because [these products] are not just commodities but also carry consumers’ emotions, memories, and personal attitudes towards the IP story, character, or brand,” she adds.

    Miniso’s beloved IPs, including Barbie, Disney, and Minions, are segmented into different IP zones. Photo: Miniso
    Miniso’s beloved IPs, including Barbie, Disney, and Minions, are segmented into different IP zones. Photo: Miniso

    Currently, Miniso has over 100 IP licenses with some of the world’s biggest names, including Marvel, Snoopy, and Minions. And it’s evident these tie-ups are luring customers to stores.

    “I love the collaboration that Hello Kitty has right now with the makeup, which is huge because it’s very practical for presents. Right now, I’m shopping for my cousin and she’s gonna love this stuff,” says New Jersey resident Ana Galan, who attended the American Dream Mall opening event. “But also, the pricing isn’t as exaggerated as one would think. Everything just draws you in, from the prices to the variety that they have in the store.”

    By 2028, Miniso aims to generate over 50 percent of its sales from IP collaborations.

    Store experiences stay fresh and fun#

    Another way Miniso connects emotionally with consumers is by providing a “relaxing, treasure-hunting, and engaging shopping experience full of delightful surprises that appeals to all demographics,” the company says in a press release.

    To celebrate the grand opening of the American Dream Mall store, the brand created a whirlwind of Instagrammable moments, ranging from a playful ball pool setup in the mall atrium to a towering 488cm-tall inflatable. Visitors could also enjoy complimentary blind boxes, lucky draw giveaways, and a live DJ.

    Chinese influencers capture their experience at the American Dream Mall store. Photo: Xiaohongshu
    Chinese influencers capture their experience at the American Dream Mall store. Photo: Xiaohongshu

    New Jersey resident Jalyssa Nieves wasn’t planning on shopping at Miniso until she saw the crowds gathered around the lucky draw table. Upon winning a $100 voucher, she started excitedly shopping for toys and facial products. “It’s very lively here, and I felt very comfortable as well,” she tells Jing Daily about the experience.

    To ensure that stores remain exciting after their launch, Miniso employs what it calls a “7-1-1” strategy. This involves launching approximately 100 new products every 7 days, selected from a large library of 10,000 product ideas. By constantly switching out products, Miniso ensures each store visit is unique.

    Blind boxes add to treasure hunt#

    And finally, what better way to connect with the younger generations than by riding the blind box craze? As part of enabling interest-driven consumption, Miniso has released blind boxes with the likes of Sanrio, Disney Villains, and Winnie the Pooh. Not only do they contribute to the brand’s mission of surprising and delighting consumers, but they also spark massive social media exposure.

    On platforms like YouTube and TikTok, influencers share their excitement about opening the blind boxes and collecting the different items. On Xiaohongshu, the hashtag “Miniso blind box” (#名创优品盲盒) has amassed 220 million views. In 2023, the brand sold more than 20 million blind boxes globally.

    View post on Instagram

    “I just want to get every character. My dream is to get one [set] entirely, but I know that it’s too expensive, so I just [buy] one by one,” says New Jersey resident Liliana Casares, who came to the American Dream store specifically for the blind boxes.

    All in all, Miniso lives up to its business slogan “life is for fun,” injecting playfulness into both its products and shopping experiences. With plans to add 1,000 stores worldwide in 2024, the Chinese lifestyle brand is on its way to becoming another household name, alongside the likes of Shein and Temu.

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