The millennial dress code: Understanding Chinese apparel shopping behaviour's & attitudes

Chinese millennials have become “super consumers” – one of the most promising consumer groups and targets of many brands. Their upbringing, values, attitudes and lifestyles will have a significant impact on their expectation towards brands in their shopping journey. Understanding their preferences and mindset, as well as their purchasing behaviour is of paramount importance for businesses. The below article and its data was found by conducting a comprehensive survey of a suitable test group.



TOP 5 DRESSING STYLES



WHY DO THEY BUY?



The graph shows that the main influences on purchases are; the change of the seasons inspiring new additions to the wardrobe and impulse buying. Impulse buying is especially popular among females.


ACTING ON IMPULSE

Females, find it easier to impulse buy. They will go into any stores that look attractive to them, especially stores that offerd:

  • Seasonal sale/ promotions

  • Great window display that shows the latest collection and stylish design

  • Eye-catching sales signs

  • Interior design with a theme or special lighting

  • New arrivals, especially for the brands they prefer 

QUICK DATA :

Which channels millennials use to receive information on latest fashion trends and styling tips :




The graph clearly shows the heavy reliance on WeChat and Weibo as the fashion gurus. To further prove this to be the case, almost all photos found within this article were originally sourced from the two social media giants.

FUN FACT : Over 82% of Chinese millennials use apparel brands’ app to either check new clothing items, buy clothes or check for latest promotions 

Side note: More younger millennials (23.0%, vs. mature millennials, 10.7%) have never downloaded any mobile app of apparel brands.



WHY DO THEY USE APPS?


FACTORS WHEN BUYING

Good quality reigns supreme as the top reason to buy, followed closely by the ability for the garment to actually fit. Style ranks third and value for money is the fourth. Advertising and sales are less important factors. Influencers coming last on the list. With the rapid growth in technology it should be expected to see changes soon.




WHO BUYS WHAT?

As shown below over a three-month period, Chinese millennials spend the most on casual wear, followed by sportswear, and formal attire

Distribution of total expenditure on different clothing categories in past three months (Females vs. Males) 


LADIES :



GENTS :



WHAT ABOUT BRANDS?

Females like to buy clothes from fast fashion and trending brands, while males prefer sports brands. The below graph shows this clearly. It also shows that luxury brands make up less than 20% of sales.




BUYING FREQUENCY

Majority of Chinese millennials buy clothes at least once every two to three weeks; and over 10% of female millennials will do their shopping at least once a week.




ONLINE VS OFFLINE SHOPPING

The findings were about two-thirds of Chinese millennials shop at both offline and online channels; but offline is still the preferred channel when it comes to buying clothes.




Highlights from focus groups



OFFLINE PRO's

  • Can see the colour, touch the fabric directly

  • Can try on and purchase on the spot

  • Can pick up the clothes immediately

  • No need to worry about fake products, especially for luxury brands

  • Enjoy the in-store service and experience, e.g. free drinks, sofa, etc.

  • Enjoy the sense of satisfaction and achievement when shopping in-store

  • Items they buy mostly in physical stores: winter clothes such as

  • jackets, and clothes for important occasions.



ONLINE PRO's

  • Time-saving (especially for working people)

  • Convenient (return and exchange policy)

  • Various brands and full range of products, size, colour, design, etc.

  • Frequent promotions especially during shopping festivals (e.g. 11.11 Shopping Festival)

  • Ease the pressure from sales associate; no hard sell from retailers

  • Enjoy the pleasure of unpacking the parcels (feel like opening gifts) 




The majority of Chinese millennials are satisfied with both their online and offline shopping experience :




Shopping malls is the number one shopping channels for Chinese millennials, followed by apparel brands’ online flagship stores and department stores: