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What is XiaoHongShu (Little Red Book) – iClick Interactive

Table of Contents:

1. What Exactly is Little Red Book (小紅書)?

1.1 Why is Little Red Book So Popular?

2. What Kind of Users are on Little Red Book?

3. What’s Inside the Little Red Book App?

4. Which Industries Benefit Most from Little Red Book?

5. In What Ways Are Global Brands Utilizing Little Red Book?

How Do I Maximize Marketing Potential of Little Red Book?

6. Ready to Dive into Little Red Book Marketing?

Xiaohongshu, also globally known as Little Red Book or “小紅書,” is revolutionizing China's digital arena.

This innovative app, originally from Shanghai, has not only melded social media and e-commerce into a singular platform but has also attracted a staggering monthly active user base of over 200 million, predominantly younger women. However, it’s also important to note that the number of male users is rising from 33% (2021) as the app’s popularity grows in folds, stepping up from that as we see into 2024.

It's become a go-to hub for discovering and sharing insights on elusive beauty and health products in China. With an eye on China’s burgeoning e-commerce market, projected to reach a value of 21.4 trillion yuan (US$3.3 trillion) by 2025, global luxury brands view Xiaohongshu as the golden key to unlocking the potential of this massive audience.

Brands like Chanel and Dior are not just taking notice; they're actively incorporating Xiaohongshu into their marketing strategies. This trend highlights the platform's critical role in shaping the Chinese market landscape, where digital strategies are increasingly focused on leveraging Xiaohongshu's unique blend of community-driven content and online shopping experience.

For a glance at the app’s appeal and its intricacies, here’s what we will be covering:

  • What Exactly is the Little Red Book?
  • What’s Inside the Little Red Book App?
  • What Kind of Users are on Little Red Book?
  • Which Industries Benefit Most from Little Red Book?
  • In What Ways Are Global Brands Utilizing Little Red Book?
  • Explore our Xiaohongshu marketing solutions

1. What Exactly is Little Red Book (小紅書)?

Little Red Book is a Chinese-owned app that represents a unique fusion of social media, e-commerce, and lifestyle blogging, creating a distinctive and influential platform in the Chinese digital space.

Created in 2014, Xiaohongshu is far more than just a shopping platform; it's a dynamic cultural phenomenon in China's digital space.

The main explore page on the Xiaohongshu web version.

A Shopping Platform Combined with Social Media and Blogging

This platform has evolved into a unique blend, making it a pivotal figure in the Chinese digital landscape. Despite its widespread recognition as a leading fashion and luxury shopping platform, Little Red Book transcends traditional e-commerce boundaries.

It primarily serves as a content-sharing site, akin to a fusion of Instagram, Pinterest, and a bit of Taobao's shopping flair. Here, users engage not only in purchasing but also in sharing experiences, tips, and reviews about products, enriching the platform with authentic, user-generated content. This approach has captivated a vast audience, particularly young urban Chinese women, who value the platform's trustworthiness and community-focused nature.

At its heart, Little Red Book represents a cultural hub that mirrors the evolving trends and preferences of young Chinese consumers. The platform's diverse content, ranging from product reviews and fashion tips to travel blogs and culinary adventures, offers a rich information source for its users.

This diversity is not just informative but also allows brands a unique opportunity to interact with an active, informed audience.

A collage of beauty content presented within the Xiaohongshu app’s Home page and Explore page.

It’s Redefining Brand Marketing and Customer Engagement

Understanding the role of Little Red Book is crucial for marketers aiming to penetrate the Chinese market. Its seamless integration of e-commerce with social media sets it apart, allowing users to transition effortlessly from reading reviews or blogs to purchasing featured items. This integration has redefined brand marketing strategies and customer engagement in China.

It’s Promoting Authenticity and Quality Content

Furthermore, the platform's algorithm promotes high-quality, genuine content, encouraging creators to produce relatable and trustworthy posts. This emphasis on authenticity strongly resonates with its audience, especially the younger generation, who often view traditional advertising with skepticism. As a result, Little Red Book offers brands a more organic and credible avenue to establish their presence and forge stronger connections with consumers. So, what does the community look like when we break down the demographics?

2. What Kind of Users are on Little Red Book?

Little Red Book has rapidly evolved into a bustling community with a significant user base. As of 2023, the platform had amassed a remarkable 200 million users, a testament to its growing popularity and influence. A notable aspect of this user base is its composition; a staggering 70% of these users are women, while around 30% are men. This makes the platform an extremely attractive venue for global fashion and cosmetic brands targeting affluent consumers.

The user demographic is further refined by CEO Mao Wenchao's statement that approximately 70–80% of the users are women. Additionally, over 72% of them were born after 1990, and more than half of them reside in first- or second-tier cities, indicating a young, urban, and tech-savvy audience.

Pie chart displaying the age distribution of Xiaohongshu users. It shows three segments: 46.39% users aged 18-24, 36.08% users aged 25-34, and 17.53% in the 'Other' age group. The chart is set against a white background with a title 'Age Distribution of Xiaohongshu Users' at the top.
Source: CBN data

Based on further data from a CBN study, we can take a glance at the demographics of Xiaohongshu users as follows:

  • The majority of the user base, approximately 70%, consists of female users, while male users, currently at about 30%, are experiencing an increase.

  • A significant portion, 46.39%, of users fall within the 18–24 age range.
  • Users aged between 25 and 34 make up around 36.08%.
  • A large number of users are located in major cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai.

In other words, the typical Xiaohongshu user is likely to belong to the Millennial or Gen Z generations, resides in a major Chinese city, and possesses a medium to high level of education and purchasing power.

3. What’s Inside the Little Red Book App?

The app itself is roughly divided into two main parts: the user community and the e-commerce playground, where products flood over screens.

The user community aspect of Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) is at its core, offering a dynamic and interactive environment. Users engage with the platform in a variety of ways, echoing familiar social media interactions.

4_Xiaohongshu like and collect feature

Tap Like, Collect, and Create Personal Curations

They can 'like' content, similar to Facebook's like feature, allowing them to express appreciation and support for posts they enjoy. Additionally, users have the option to 'collect' content, a function akin to bookmarking, which enables them to save posts for future reference, creating a personalized library of favored ideas, products, and tips.

5_Xiaohongshu comment section

Comment Away into the Community for Answers

The platform also fosters active dialogue and community building through its commenting feature. Here, users can engage in conversations, ask questions, or provide feedback on the content, adding to the richness of the platform's interactive experience.

Beyond just passive consumption, Little Red Book encourages its users to contribute content – be it product reviews, lifestyle tips, or personal experiences. This contribution enhances the trust and reliability between the platform and its users, as they share valuable insights and advice with the community. Regular and quality content creation can lead to users gaining substantial followings, with the potential to become influencers within the platform, further amplifying their impact and reach in this vibrant digital ecosystem.

3.1 E-commerce and Little Red Book

The E-commerce page from the official Xiaohongshu website explaining how it serves as an incubator.

At the heart of Little Red Book's appeal is its distinctive approach to e-commerce, which significantly diverges from traditional online shopping practices.

The platform's most popular posts often feature curated lists of products that are convenient, budget-friendly, or particularly suitable for specific needs, like sensitive skin. These posts gain traction due to the platform's emphasis on authenticity and relatability, with influencers garnering appreciation for their realistic and accessible recommendations.

For those interested in leveraging this trend and creating their curated product selections (here’s how you can set up your store), a guide walks you through the process of becoming a part of this vibrant community by establishing your presence on the platform.

A screenshot collage of different lifestyle products easily offered within the 
Xiaohongshu app. Listed are a minimalist carpet, shoe cabinet, and bicycle rock for cyclists.

Little Red Book stands apart in its e-commerce methodology by eschewing common practices like anonymous reviews or simplistic one-click ratings. Instead, it champions in-depth, narrative-style product reviews, known as “notes,” which offer comprehensive insights into users' experiences with products. This format ensures that reviews are both informative and immersive, providing potential buyers with a thorough understanding of the products.

Furthermore, Little Red Book's focus on fostering trusted communities of like-minded shoppers enhances the shopping experience, making it a powerful and resonant tool for users looking for an integrated platform that combines community-driven insights with convenient shopping options.

4. Which Industries Benefit Most from Little Red Book?

Xiaohongshu Lifestyle - assorted-color towels hanging inside room
Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Advertising on Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) is particularly effective for brands in the beauty and fashion sectors, given the platform's distinctive focus on these markets. This has set Little Red Book apart from other Chinese social media and e-commerce platforms like WeChat and Weibo.

Beauty and Fashion

With a user base skewed towards luxury beauty and high-end cosmetic brands, such as Dior, Chanel, Fenty, and Lancôme, the platform offers fertile ground for these industries to flourish. This strong market focus has not only attracted a substantial user base interested in these sectors but also contributed to Little Red Book securing significant funding, including a USD 300 million series D from investors like Alibaba, further bolstering its position in these markets.

Lifestyle, Fitness & Health, and Travel

Beyond beauty and fashion, Little Red Book also caters to a broader range of lifestyle products, including nutritional supplements and travel-related content, with a significant number of travel bloggers active on the platform. Features like the “explore” section for fashion, food, and travel and the “nearby” section for local shopping experiences underscore the platform's versatility. This diversity presents vast opportunities for global brands across various sectors, including cosmetics, clothing, and travel products.

For effective advertising on Little Red Book, brands should create ads that align with the platform's content-centric nature. High-quality, engaging visuals, influencer collaborations, and storytelling techniques are key to crafting ads that resonate with the community's values and interests. The platform's robust targeting capabilities further enable advertisers to reach the most relevant audience segments, making Little Red Book an invaluable asset for brands looking to succeed in these thriving industries.

5. In What Ways Are Global Brands Utilizing Little Red Book?

Global brands are leveraging Little Red Book in multifaceted ways to enhance their presence in the Chinese market. Currently, the platform boasts around 8,000 verified brands, including major international names. High-profile figures like Kim Kardashian have also joined the platform, using it to promote global brands such as her makeup line, KKW.

To resonate more deeply with the local audience, many global brands, including Chanel, Gucci, and Dior, are adapting their strategies by translating packaging into Mandarin and partnering with Chinese key opinion leaders (KOLs). These partnerships often involve collaborations with Chinese celebrities in advertising campaigns, demanding a significant effort at the local level, including translation services and production agencies.

A screenshot of Xiaohongshu’s brand partner platform.

Connecting Brands with Influencers

In late 2018, Little Red Book further facilitated these connections by launching a “brand partner platform,” designed to connect brands with influencers and KOLs for sponsored content. This service allows companies to find suitable influencers from their network of over 4,800, using content tags and key metrics like likes, average hits, comments per post, and fan counts to guide their choices. Many luxury brands, such as YSL, Shiseido, and Fendi, have since engaged in official collaborations with KOLs, driving additional interest in their products.

Making Celebrities Authentic & Trustworthy

Additionally, Little Red Book has diversified its influencer base by inviting actresses from popular TV dramas to join as beauty bloggers, sharing their makeup routines with a vast audience. This strategy aligns well with influencer collaborations, a cornerstone of marketing on the platform.

Influencers on Little Red Book are often perceived as authentic and trustworthy, making them powerful allies for brands. Effective strategies involve identifying influencers whose style and audience align with the brand’s values, fostering genuine content creation partnerships, and leveraging these influencers' insights for more impactful campaigns.

These varied approaches demonstrate how global brands are effectively using Little Red Book, not just to increase visibility but also to build credibility and trust within its vibrant community. Check out how you can be part of the Xiaohongshu marketing game and explore our services here.

6. How Do I Maximize Marketing Potential on Little Red Book?

Over the past five years, Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) has experienced phenomenal growth, establishing itself as a central hub in China's digital marketing landscape. This growth is not just in user numbers but also in the platform's unwavering commitment to fostering meaningful community interaction and maintaining user integrity.

For global luxury and lifestyle brands targeting the Chinese market, figuring out the best marketing solution for Little Red Book is essential. Key strategies include:

Influencer Collaborations

Global luxury and lifestyle brands eyeing the Chinese market can greatly benefit from tapping into the platform's influencer network. Xiaohongshu's influencers, with their organic reach and credibility, can help brands connect authentically with their audience. This strategy is about more than just endorsements; it's about creating genuine stories that resonate with the community.

Content Marketing Strategies

Content is king on Xiaohongshu. Brands should focus on creating community-driven content that fosters real connections with consumers. Authenticity here is key; the content should reflect the brand's ethos and speak directly to the user's interests and lifestyle. This approach aligns with the platform's commitment to genuine user experiences and integrity in interactions.

Leveraging E-commerce Capabilities

Utilizing Xiaohongshu's integrated e-commerce features, such as the Little Red Book Store, is crucial for direct sales and interactive consumer engagement. This strategy involves more than just selling products; it's about creating an immersive shopping experience that complements the social aspects of the platform.

Live-Streaming for Dynamic Engagement

Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash

Live-streaming on Xiaohongshu offers a dynamic way for brands to engage with their audience. This feature allows for real-time interaction, showcasing products, and giving a behind-the-scenes look into the brand's world. It's an innovative marketing approach, bringing products and experiences to life.

Collaborating with Brand Partners on Xiaohongshu

Partnering with other brands on the platform can open up new avenues for cross-promotion and expanded reach. This collaborative approach can help brands tap into new segments of Xiaohongshu's diverse user base, creating synergies that benefit all parties involved.

These strategies are key for brands to maximize their impact on Little Red Book, allowing for the creation of effective and engaging marketing campaigns that resonate with the platform’s audience.

6. Ready to Dive into Little Red Book Marketing?

If you’re looking to closely monitor and make the most of everything happening on Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu), contact our team. We’re here to provide expert guidance and insights, helping you navigate and succeed in this unique digital marketing space.

iClick’s Xiaohongshu Marketing Solution

As Xiaohongshu's official overseas advertising partner and an award-winning agency, we offer comprehensive, data-driven, and AI-powered XHS marketing solutions.

Our services range from XHS official account setup, advertising placement and solutions, content creation, and account management to KOL/KOC advertising strategies. We have a proven track record of aiding global brands in successfully entering the Chinese market via Xiaohongshu, unlocking its full potential for remarkable success.

Reach out to us now to discover how our extensive solutions can elevate your marketing strategies.

In the vast ocean of China's social media, we stand as the lighthouse for brands navigating these waters. Whether you're a global brand making its maiden voyage or a seasoned player, our expertise ensures smooth sailing in this vibrant digital landscape.

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