Bilibili, in cooperation with Alibaba’s Tmall and Alibaba’s online marketing technology platform Alimama, released their findings on the latest Chinese consumer fashion trends.
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The 2021 Spring and Summer Season Fashion Report found that Generation Z, born between 1990 and 2009, remains the main driving force behind China’s fashion consumption growth. With an average capital expenditure of US$7,871, “Gen Z” fashion consumption in China accounted for 30% of the overall fashion market in 2020, with a year-over-year growth rate of 106%. This figure is higher than the 91% growth rate of overall spending in the fashion market.
In 2019, the population of Gen Z in China exceeded 226 million, accounting for 16% of the total population, according to the report. With 86% of Bilibili’s 202 million monthly active users under the age of 35, one out of every two young people in China is a Bilibili user.
Bilibili has increasingly become the go-to platform for young people to seek inspiration and the latest fashion trends, exchange notes with like-minded users, and express their aesthetic and stylistic preferences. Bilibili is the top platform for Gen Z to pursue fashion-related content, according to the report.
In 2020, the number of video views generated from fashion content on Bilibili grew by 130% year-over-year, while the number of video views generated from professional fashion shows increased by 140% year-over-year. In 2020, the number of monthly active viewers of fashion videos on Bilibili increased by 80% year-over-year, according to the report.
The study also revealed three fashion trends as well as key cultural preferences among Chinese Gen Z as manifested on Bilibili:
Trend No. 1: The “contrast look”
By creating contrast to contemporary fashion, a new style emerges. This trend is best seen in the surge of videos on Bilibili that blend retro, futuristic or surreal elements like cyberpunk to create a contrast with the everyday and mainstream style in China. Video views of such content on Bilibili more than doubled in 2020 year-over-year.
Trend No. 2: The “new classy look”
Chinese Gen Z’s heightened sense of value for money has led to a change in their expectations of quality. Interest in quality products has grown from beyond flamboyant luxury brands to durable, versatile, and minimalist products with the term “new classy look” trending as the latest fashion buzz word. The number of “new classy look” videos on Bilibili increased by 240% in 2020 year-over-year.
Trend No. 3: Home, gym, and camping have become new focal points in fashion
The pandemic has extended fashion and style to all aspects of life. The understanding of fashion among young people has evolved beyond their daily clothing to a more comprehensive lifestyle aesthetic, permeating scenarios such as the home, gym and camping.
Stylish, comfortable and durable activewear and an accompanying sportier lifestyle are trending with Chinese young people. In 2020, activewear-related content on Bilibili increased by 80% year-over-year, while general fitness content surged by 180% year-over-year.
With the increase in time spent at home over the past year, the market for smart home devices, stylish home decor, and trendy indoor “loungewear” has sharply expanded as well. In 2020, video views of smart home-related content on Bilibili increased by 120% year-over-year.
Lockdowns and limited social gatherings have also made people yearn to get closer to nature. As a result, camping has become a new setting to showcase one’s sense of style and has even led to surge in upscale “glamping,” which offers exquisite camping experiences with the kind of high-end amenities usually associated with a boutique hotel.
Bilibili has become a popular place to share information about camping experiences for both long-term enthusiasts and newbies learning the ropes. Unsurprisingly, views of camping-related content increased by 160% year-over-year.
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Generation Z’s cultural preferences include:
- Street culture: Skateboarding / graffiti / tattoos / hip hop
- Gaming culture: Games / esports / live game broadcasts / related electronic products
- ACG culture: Animation / cosplay / Lolita fashion / ancient Chinese fashion / JK fashion / virtual idols
- Pop culture: Electronic music / street dance / clubbing / vinyl record shops / music festivals
- Internet culture: auto-tune remix / internet memes / emoji and stickers / celebrity news and gossips / short videos
- Celebrity culture: Chinese entertainment / Korean entertainment / Japanese entertainment / Western entertainment / live streaming / virtual idols
- Art culture: Art exhibitions / performances / musicals / theater / painting
- City-lifestyle: Hotspots popularized by the Internet / lifestyle and art festivals / homestays or Airbnb rentals
In summary, China’s Gen Z has become increasingly sophisticated in their consumption patterns and their personal aesthetic continues to evolve. They increasingly use video as a medium to express their fashion preferences. As a result, Bilibili has become the bellwether for China’s fashion trends and the go-to platform for brands that want to understand the fashion preferences of Chinese young people and get a head start on emerging trends.