Taobao Official Report English Translation
On 18th March 2019, China’s biggest e-commerce platform Taobao released a video report on Weibo: China Fashion Trend Report 2019. The headline of this 40-second short video report claims: Chinese women will be manlier than men in 10 years. The hashtag on Weibo – #Chinese women more masculine than men in 10 years (#10年后女比男man#) – has received more than 583,000 mentions and was read over 600 million times in just one week. China Fashion Trend Report 2019 has caused heated discussion on China’s social media. Some are criticizing Chinese men being too feminine; others consider this message being sexist by calling people masculine or feminine solely based on their fashion choices.
Taobao observation #1: “Big-brother oversized blazer” is the hottest trendy item 2019 in China
Nevertheless, China Fashion Trend Report 2019revealed some interesting fashion phenomena in China, for instance, the so-called “big-brother oversized blazer” (大哥廓西, a name invented by Chinese consumers for this specific trendy piece of clothing) has become a super stylish item. The search frequency of this kind of clothing in the first quarter of 2019 soared by 317 percent compared to the same period of last year, and its sales rose 139 percent on Taobao.
In order to narrow down their searches on Taobao, Chinese consumers are used to typing in the item with the name of the celebrities who inspired the look. Chinese actress Yao Chen is on the top of the list when it comes to searching for female blazers. That may be because of her iron-lady character in the recent popular Chinese drama All is Well, in which she often wears suits/blazers. Famous actress Ni ni and Tang Yan are on the second and third place.
Taobao observation #2: Chinese women are getting bolder while men getting more delicate
From the Taobao’s search index between March 2018 and March 2019, we can see the number of female consumers searching for blazers / suits has surpassed the number of their male counterparts starting with January 27th this year. While Chinese women becoming more and more interested in blazers / suits, the figures of male consumers are also showing some interesting clothing trends in China. Search frequency of such in the first quarter of 2019 has risen significantly compared to the same period in 2018: “Mens’ Lace” for 119%; “Mens’ see-through clothing” for 107%; “Men’s earring” for 69% and “Mens’ floral shirts” for 49%.
Taobao observation #3: Women are dressing comfier while men are dressing more trendy
According to the report, “Loose” has been the most searched keyword among female fashion shoppers in 2019 so far, with “Loose hoodies” and “Loose pants” (baggy pants) among the top-10 list. Meanwhile, Chinese male shoppers care more about “trendiness,” with “trendy male sweatshirts” and “trendy male coats” among the top-10 fashion searches. What’s also interesting is that “partner look” is on the 4th place of male consumers’ search list, which might indicate that Chinese men like to shop couple dresses as a Valentine’s Day gift.
Clothing trends in China: Traditional Chinese dress – Hanfu – is, once again, gaining popularity
Interestingly, “Hanfu” (ancient Chinese dress) is on both male and female top 10 searching list. Among female consumers, it was even on the third place. This trend might be due to the recent phenomenon of Chinese court drama (宫廷剧 gong ting ju) such as the viral TV drama Story of Yanxi Palace.
Impact of Taobao in the fashion industry: its significant role in Chinese millennial fashion
Taobao offers a stage for young, innovative local fashion designers and entrepreneurs
As a matter of fact, Taobao released this fashion trend forecast as a part of its campaign for the platform’s ifashion week (淘宝新势力周). Despite the intention to boost sales, this shopping festival also attempts to gain recognition from young, stylish shoppers, and at the same time, increase the impact of Taobao in the fashion industry. Although Taobao might not sound like an authoritative source for fashion trends, it plays an unneglectable role of Chinese millennials’ shopping experience for clothing and accessories. Taobao reached 617 million monthly active users as of 31st March 2018, 70 percent of the platform’s MAUs are in their 20s and 30s by 2016 according to the company.
In addition, Taobao also has been offering a stage as well as a more accessible entrance for young, innovative local fashion designers and entrepreneurs. For international fashion brands, Taobao is not only a great e-commerce platform, but it is also advantageous to obtain insight from it of what Chinese millennials are searching for.
Author: Chencen Zhu
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