Blair Zhang
Research Analyst, Mintel Reports China

Emerging apps like TikTok have changed what consumers want from brands. They want brands to be more personalized, as well as having an attitude of being close to consumers’ lives.

TikTok is to encourage personality

TikTok has been part of Chinese people’s daily life. According to Mintel data, half of Chinese consumers used TikTok every day in Q2 2020, with a huge increase when compared to 37% in Q1. As a daily-use app, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, TikTok has become a very popular tool for leisure time entertainment and has a deep impact on Chinese consumers’ daily behaviors.

One of the most important characteristics of TikTok is to encourage personality. When every user can easily express his/her own views, an era of individuality has arrived. This strengthens consumers’ pursuit of personality and also being reflected in their expectations of brands. As Mintel’s data shows, nearly four in five consumers think the close-to-life content made by brands is more attractive than product display. This demand for personality is embedded in all aspects of consumers’ lives, including FMCG or luxury goods, etc. 

TikTok has changed Chinese consumers’ purchasing habits

Short video apps such as TikTok provide vivid product recommendations to consumers and also drive their willingness to buy. This results in significant impacts on consumers’ shopping habits.

TikTok gradually changes the way consumers gathering product information before they purchase, which in turn affects their consumption patterns and also become another online shopping channel. According to Mintel’s data, seven in ten of consumers agreed that products displayed on short video platforms (eg TikTok shop) are attractive for the audience to buy. With its unique characteristics of being short, direct, and fast, short videos present the characteristics of products to consumers more vividly. This kind of short video content allows a new way of searching and buying online, as well as impacts on the shopping patterns in online shopping.

What We Think

Cold brand images of not proactively looking for potential consumers can no longer work out. Consumers nowadays need brands to own an enthusiastic attitude to be close to their lives. Thus, video content that can better resonate to attract consumers can win more consumers’ screen time, which means more monetization opportunities.

In addition, TikTok strengthens the recommending part of consumers’ shopping process. On the one hand, it occupies users’ fragmented entertainment time, constantly flooding users’ nerves with product information, causing a huge information impact; on the other hand, the way that users create short video content themselves can expand the influence of user reviews since real sharing from users is more credible. This kind of user education process can help consumers adapt to new shopping ways – before making a purchase, the potential consumer will browse the experience sharing of other users and collect a bunch of information first.