Brands Lean into Niche Categories to Reach China’s Gen-Z Shoppers on Tmall 

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Brands Lean into Niche Categories to Reach China’s Gen-Z Shoppers on Tmall 

  • Tmall’s consumer insights help brands tailor their product launches
  • Gen-Z shoppers drive sales in niche categories like pet care

Pop Mart's collectible figurines launched on Tmall. Photo credit: Alibaba Group

Chinese young shoppers are driving demand for new products in trendy categories on Alibaba Group’s business-to-consumer digital marketplace Tmall, the platform’s head of marketing shared at a retail event last week. 

Product launches on Tmall jumped 137% year-on-year in 2022, with the most significant increase observed in specialized areas, from pre-made meals to pet care

“New products that represent fresh lifestyles and values will gain traction,” Han Wenfei, General Marketing Manager at Taobao and Tmall told the audience at the Tmall Heybox Summit on Friday.

In 2022, 500 brands generated over RMB100 million ($14.5 million) in sales of new products, according to the platform, and more than 50,000 newly released products exceeded RMB1 million in gross merchandise value.

This presents an opportunity for brands to ride niche consumption trends among the youngest generation of consumers in China.

Gen-Z shoppers, born between 1996 and 2010, account for around 15% of China’s population. Still, their annual spending in niche categories is 20% higher than the average Tmall consumer.

“We’ve seen buyers of new products turning younger, more active and with higher spending,” said Han.

The Ultimate Launchpad

Launching a product can make or break, and many brands rely on Tmall’s consumer insights to scout trends and test launch strategies.

Last summer, local toy brand Pop Mart partnered with Tmall’s marketing channel, Super Brand Day, to launch its Buzz Lightyear collection from the Disney/Pixar Toy Story franchise.

The campaign allowed consumers to pre-order items and helped Pop Mart forecast demand to ensure ample stock. The line of items inspired by the animated astronaut generated over RMB10 million in sales and is part of a wave of interest in collectible toys.

“Tmall is still the most effective at turning consumer interests into online purchases among e-commerce platforms in China,” said Zhou Shuying, the brand’s chief customer operations officer.

In the months ahead, Tmall will introduce more supportive measures to encourage product launches on the platform. These include new product rankings by category and a product testing program in collaboration with Key Opinion Leaders, according to Han.

For more stories on China’s e-commerce, go to our retail & e-commerce page here

Chinese ConsumersE-CommerceProduct DevelopmentProduct Innovation
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