A change in the way Millennials (people born in the 2000s) and Gen-X consumers (people born between 1966 and 1976) live is fuelling the evolution of high-end design in China. In 2018, China’s decoration and furniture market was estimated at $740 billion (5 trillion RMB), according to a Yicai study.
Also, this market continues to grow and evolve, both offline and online. Now, many furniture and lifestyle concept stores are opening across China, and some Chinese fashion and lifestyle brands are developing their lines of homewares, such as JNBY Home or The Beast Home.
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I) A shift from party to social networks
This trend has been greatly encouraged by the local digital habits of young and overconnected Chinese generations.
In the past, the Chinese tended to keep their interiors as intimate spheres reserved only for family members, but now photos of interiors are shared on Chinese social networks like WeChat or Xiaohongshu.
This is a new way of expressing an aesthetic style and personality. Networks are also used to promote or discover new creative ideas or trends.
This change is an opportunity for luxury brands.
The KOLs (Key Opinion leaders) who used to focus on fashion now pose in creative interiors and with objects that more closely reflect their style and design culture.
Magazines such as Elle Deco China, Domus, and Ideat China are also influencing the next generation, especially through their publishers who become specialized Kol and experts in modern and contemporary design.
Elle Decor China’s editor-in-chief, Sugar Lee (@DemonSugar), for example, now has 20,000 subscribers on Weibo.
II) 3 new trends
The interiors are a new playground for aesthetic expression in China. Now, three main trends are influencing Chinese consumers in their home décor consumption.
A) Rarity and Art Pieces
Urban young Chinese have a strong desire for culture, sophistication, and knowledge, but they also want their interiors to be sharp. Therefore, having exclusive or unique products with a history is a “must” for their home interiors.
Now, buying and investing in art has become a real way of life (even a habit) for the wealthy Chinese, which is spreading more and more in the growing Chinese middle class, especially among the younger generations.
B) Neo-Chinese style
Another major trend right now in China is the revival of Chinese culture and aesthetic elements, which affects the world of contemporary decoration and luxury at home. This trend is called “Neo Chinese”.
Products belonging to this new style are usually made by Chinese artists and designers who fuse Chinese and Western elements to create sophisticated and contemporary furniture. These talented local designers are often inspired by the historic craftsmanship of the ancient Song dynasties.
C) Contemporary style
Major international classic luxury brands have enjoyed success in China over the past decade, but now the international contemporary design is booming with new generations. A big reason for this popularity is, curiously, the arrival of a cheap pet: IKEA.
The furniture giant was the first to introduce Chinese consumers to minimalist aesthetics; an alternative to the country’s dominant, bling-bling look. For this reason, several high-end furniture stores now offer selections organized by designers and international brands in major cities across China.
The domestic decoration market in China has evolved quite rapidly in recent times, representing a major opportunity for international and local brands.
This evolution reflects a new global sophistication with Chinese consumers now wanting unique interiors and demanding a greater variety of styles and aesthetic influences.
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