Founded in 2013, popular app Xiaohongshu (小红书) translates to “Little Red Book” in English, but it is also sometimes referred to as “RED”. 

While the app originally was known as “China’s answer to Instagram,” Xiaohongshu has always been more unique than that. I hope to show this over the course of this guide.

Since its launch over ten years ago, it has become a strong competitor to TikTok and WeChat. 

As someone with a Masters in Chinese anthropology and history, I find the app an interesting way to gain insights into China’s society and consumer trends.

In this guide, I will explore the app’s demographics and how this information can help brands better advertise to Chinese consumers.

Xiaohongshu’s Gender Demographics: A Changing Environment

The best place to begin with Xiaohongshu is the gender demographics of its user base. 

Back in 2013, the app started out with women as its core audience, which may be due its early focus on fashion, beauty, and health trends.

This background eventually allowed Xiaohongshu to become considered a “safe space” for women, and as of 2021, reports showed females making up 90% of the app’s user base. 

 

Chart Taken From Qiangua

 

This report also gives us gender information related to monthly active users. Below is a chart taken from the report.

 

 

As we can see, males account for 20.87% and females 79.13% of Xiaohongshu’s monthly active users. 

This shows that there is a 10% difference between Xiaohongshu’s overall active users and its monthly active users when it comes to males. 

Despite the app having some growth among male users, it is still an overwhelmingly female app.

Below is a chart showing the change over the past few years.

 

 

Xiaohongshu’s Monthly Active Users

Monthly active users can be measured in other ways besides gender. 

Qiangua’s report states Xiaohongshu has 300 million monthly active users.

Nevertheless, an older Qiangua report from 2021 had Xiaohongshu’s monthly active users at just over 100 million. This certainly shows that the app has had some spectacular growth in the last few years, especially given that it was created in 2013.

 

 

Xiaohongshu’s Age Demographics

We can also see how Xiaohongshu has gained fame in recent years by looking at its age demographics. It is very successful among younger audiences.

When Xiaohongshu was first released in 2013, China’s “super app” WeChat was only a couple of years old. WeChat quickly became an essential part of daily life in China with people of all ages relying on it for many aspects of their social, commercial, and entertainment needs. 

Therefore, it makes sense that Xiaohongshu’s heyday didn’t arrive until recently, and why younger audiences now use it. 

WeChat has emerged to become a place for people of all ages and genders. Younger Chinese citizens now realize what they post on WeChat may be seen by their mom, aunt, teacher, or dad. 

Xiaohongshu, on the other hand, is seen as a new environment that older people aren’t as interested in. 

As we will see later in this report, Xiaohongshu has evolved to serve a different purpose: Marketing.

Qiangua distinguishes between monthly and total active users when talking about age. The company states that 50% of Xiaohongshu’s monthly active users were born after 1995 and that 35% were born after 2000. When it discusses total active users, it shows that 39% of the app’s users are between 18 and 24 years old while 38% are between 25 and 34.

 

Chart Taken From Qiangua

 

Qiangua’s report also provided a chart illustrating the age demographics for total active users.

 

Chart Taken From Qiangua

 

Brands looking to market in China can learn something from knowing about Xiaohongshu’s popularity among younger audiences. To better improve their marketing and branding, companies should invest in learning more about the trends Gen Z are interested in as well as what types of advertisements they react to more. 

I will get into some of this later on in this report.

Location Demographics

In terms of location, Qiangua’s data found that 50% of Xiaohongshu’s monthly active users come from 1st and 2nd tier cities.

 

Chart Taken From Qiangua

 

When we look closer at the report, we find much more information about Xiaohongshu’s city demographics.

 

 

In the above pictures, we can see that 1st tier cities (一线城市) make up 35.19% while 2nd tier cities (二线城市) make up 16.15%, for a combined total of approximately 50%. 

Additionally, this graph reveals that 33.97% belong to China’s new 1st tier cities (新一线城市). In fact, the smaller cities make up less than 20% with 

  • 3rd tier cities having 9.19%, 
  • 4th tier cities having 6.08%, and 
  • 5th tier cities having 2.29% of users.

Notice the difference here between the percent of total users who come from first and second tier cities and the earlier picture stating 50% of all monthly active users come from these cities. If we add up the data in the above chart, we see that around 84% of RED’s total active users live in first or second tier cities. 

How can this information benefit companies wishing to enter China’s market? Up until now, most of China’s modern development has been focused on the coastal cities. Second tier cities still exist on the coasts, but they also are more in land. With the growth of new first tier cities and second tier cities, companies should begin to research the differences in culture and user preferences between cities. This may mean that different marketing campaigns will need to be used for each region of China.

Xiaohongshu’s Income and Lifestyle Demographics

Xiaohongshu’s users can be broken down into different groups based on their income and lifestyle.

Qiangua broke down the app’s users into 8 groups.

 

 

Gen Z “都市” here refers to members of Generation Z who live in the higher-tier cities. This group grew up with the internet and are becoming increasingly dependent on online shopping. 

Urban blue collar workers “都市蓝领” from higher-tier cities care more about cost when making purchases. 

Urban white collar workers “都市白领” are mainly people born after 1990 who spend on convenience. 

Next, there is the 小镇青年 or small city youngsters from lower-tier cities who closely follow trends, have a lot of free time, and possess extra money to spare. “精致妈妈” or exquisite moms are women who have children to look after and care a lot about their own healthcare too. Their needs usually align with that of their families and wanting to make life more convenient.

For the last four, we have 都市中产,都市银发,小镇中老年,and 未知. 未知 simply means unknown, so companies must be aware that 34.95% of Xiaohongshu’s users fall into that category. That’s quite a significant amount. 

都市中产 refers to middle-class people who live in first-tier cities. These consumers work in middle to upper management positions in companies and prefer to make more expensive purchases. They pay a lot more attention to the quality of the products they find online.

Note here that Qiangua does not provide any information about what differentiates middle-class people from white collar workers. This would be useful to know given that a lot of middle-class people are also white collar workers.

都市银发 also live in first-tier cities, but they are individuals older than 50. Hence the use of the word 银发 or “silver hair”. This group relies on their retirement money for their purchases. Keep in mind that retirement in China is 50 for females.

The last group in China, the 小镇重老年, are older individuals from lower tier cities. They have a lot of time on their hands and prefer to live life slowly. They especially like watching television and listening to the news.

It’s important to point out too how many people belong to the “unknown” group. There was no information provided about why this group was so unknown. Perhaps members of this group could also belong to the other groups.

Key Tags Used on Xiaohongshu

Qiangua created a word cloud in its report to show some key tags they used to come up with their findings.

 

 

(Please note that some of my translations are not literal. I chose the best words to express the meaning in English.)

Still, one can learn a lot about the search habits of Chinese from this chart.

As you can see, the words chosen are very different from ones used by English speakers, even edging on slang. 

Words like 党 (party), 军 (army), or 族 (ethnicity) are used in a funny way to group people of similar interests together.

With these terms understood, we can also investigate what Qiangua discovered about each of these terms. The company used these to analyze the different types of products users searched for on Xiaohongshu. 

Let’s go over the product categories Qiangua addressed.

Beauty Demographics on Xiaohongshu

The first type of products Qiangua’s report goes over is in the beauty section.

Below I have translated Qiangua’s chart showing the demographics for beauty products.

 

 

It is not a surprise that Gen Z spends the most on beauty products given that this same trend occurs across English-speaking countries.

Overall, the chart further highlights how Xiaohongshu is an app for the young generation.

Beauty Search Demographics on Xiaohongshu

To come to the findings in the last section, the company leveraged the tags mentioned earlier.

As you can see, the tag that was used the most for this category was “Makeup Lover Party” followed by “Skin Protection Party” and “Student Party.” I have translated part of Qiangua’s chart below.

 

 

In addition to tags, Qiangua’s report explores popular search terms and topics. Below is their word cloud.

 

 

I have translated some of the more important terms below.

 

 

When it comes to topics, Qiangua also provided a chart showing how often a hashtag was used. Below is my translation.

 

 

Popular Beauty Products on Xiaohongshu

Moving on, the report then provides a graph revealing the top types of beauty products Xiaohongshu’s users are interested in. Here is my translation:

 

 

Qiangua also breaks down these categories even further:

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind that this skincare chart does not include everything because Qiangua’s report did not provide data for the rest of the subjects under this tag.  In this category, there was also 男士护肤 (Male Skincare), 面部美容工具 (Makeup Tools for the Face), and 唇部护理 (Lip Care).

Popular Beauty Brands on Xiaohongshu

At the end of Qiangua’s section on beauty, they provide another word cloud to show the most searched-for brands.

 

Below, I have provided a table with the top names translated.

 

Even if you’re not that into beauty products, you should be able to recognize the names of European and American names in the list. 

Chinese consumers, however, are also interested in local brands, so any company interested in marketing in China should research these companies to know their competition and what trends are popular domestically.

Clothing & Personal Adornment Demographics on Xiaohongshu

The next type of product that Qiangua evaluates in its report is called 服饰, which can be translated as “clothing or personal adornment items.”

These items could be clothing or jewelry.

Below is my translation of Qiangua’s chart of the groups most interested in these products.

 

 

As we saw with beauty products, the urban Gen Z group came out first, but this time they took up a much larger proportion. 

The next three groups are close together, as they were with beauty products, but to a lesser extent. 

This data more than any other category reveals how Xiaohongshu heavily skews towards younger generations.

Clothing & Personal Adornment Search Demographics on Xiaohongshu

Here is the graph Qiangua provided for the most popular tags for this subject.

 

Notice how some of the same tags appear here as with the beauty category, although their placement in the chart is different. Please note once again my translation is not literal. I chose names that sound best in English.

Like before, the below word cloud from Qiangua has some of the top search terms users used on Xiaohongshu for clothing and personal adornments.

 

 

 

Companies can learn a lot from the above. 

There are quite a few popular words related to clothing, which demonstrates that Chinese consumers are wanting clothes based on Chinese culture much more than before.

On this note, there were also a few tags related to “gray,” and this is just one unique trend within China from 2023. 

The trend was known as 格雷系, which sounds basically like the English word “gray”. 

Walkthechat provided some interesting details about this Xiaohongshu fad.

 

 

Despite this being a hot topic, many of the other search terms were quite basic like “everyday outfits” and “holiday outfits”.

As we did with the last section, below is a list of popular hashtags Qiangua compiled for the clothing and personal adornment category.

 

After inspecting these popular topics, we can see that a lot of them are typical searches.

The top hashtags are related to people looking for outfits they can wear on a daily basis. There are also topics related to body size, work, and going out for fun. However, we can also see that there are topics that are unique to China like “New Chinese Style”.

Vogue recently released a good article outlining this trend by saying the following:

New Chinese Style is “a movement that sees designers in China lean into Chinese sartorial traditions in order to offer a singular spin on their cultural identity. This trend follows the footsteps of a wider effort by the Chinese government to look inwards and restore national identity through the reappraisal of tradition. It has gained momentum in China for the way in which it so effortlessly cuts through the noise of Western aesthetics and pop culture.” 

This trend is in line with the grander growth of 国朝 or guochao culture. The China-Britain Business Council stated that guochao “translates to “national trend” – or can be more eloquently translated as ‘China chic’ – encapsulates the rise of Chinese brands that celebrate and promote Chinese cultural identity. This movement gained momentum during the Covid pandemic, raising questions about whether China’s nationalistic sentiment intensified during the crisis.” 

A Jing Daily article provides an example of how Dior jumped on this fashion trend by mixing Chinese culture with modern looks.

Popular Clothing & Personal Adornment Products on Xiaohongshu

Qiangua’s report has the below chart illustrating the top clothing and personal adornment products users searched for on Xiaohongshu.

 

 

The above chart shows that jewelry and accessories were the most popular products on Xiaohongshu followed by clothes. One can learn a lot about the Chinese market from this. While it makes sense how popular clothing is given that people wear them every day, its closeness to luggage is interesting. China has been known over the past decade as one of the top countries growing the tourism industry.

The strength of jewelry on Xiaohongshu combined with the earlier data that shows Gen Z is by far the biggest spender in the clothing and personal adornment category is interesting because it is in line with the trend within the Chinese jewelry industry as a whole. Up until the pandemic, jewelry was mainly purchased by older generations. At one point, it was even scoffed at for being old-fashioned. Judging by Xiaohongshu’s users, the situation has clearly changed!

Jing Daily recently gave a few reasons for this, one of which was the growth in Xiaohongshu as an app for users to give suggestions to one another about cheap jewelry. In fact, 2023 was a big year for gold in China. Between January and October, nearly 2.6 million jewelry-related businesses registered in the country.

In fact, one of the other reasons Jing Daily gave for this rise in gold purchases may also be connected to the strength of luggage searches on Xiaohongshu. China’s economy was not doing too well in 2023. The United States was impacted with record numbers of Chinese coming over the border from Mexico. Perhaps this was why so many people were looking at luggage. It could also have simply been because the pandemic was over and more people were going traveling.

As we saw with beauty, these product groups can be broken down further.

 

 

Note here that 手拿包 or “clutch bags” were not given a percent in the original chart, so I did not include them in the above English chart.

Why were shoulder/crossbody bags so popular in 2023? Perhaps this can be attributed to the growth of the “city walk” culture in post-pandemic China. This concept ranked among Xiaohongshu’s top 10 lifestyle trends for 2022. To participate in this meme, many Chinese citizens younger than 30 took pensive photos while strolling around cities.

Some brands even jumped on this trend to increase their fanbase on Xiaohongshu. For instance, Freitag invited customers to take part in a city walk from its store while wearing its items. The above Jing Daily article goes into more depth on this subject. 

Companies can learn from this example not only on how to use Xiaohongshu, but also on how to incorporate creative campaign ideas for China’s urban landscape.

 

The Chinese chart did not provide data for 配饰/首饰套装 or “accessory/jewelry sets”.

 

For the last category, footwear, Qiangua only provided one sub-category. This was “boots/Martin boots” at 2.80%.

The above chart includes the term “ethnic clothing”. This is again related to the aforementioned guochao culture in China. Here ethnic refers to “Han people”, the dominant ethnicity in China.

Popular Clothing & Personal Adornment Brands on Xiaohongshu

As we saw with beauty products, Qiangua provided a word cloud illustrating the most popular clothing and personal adornment brands users searched for on Xiaohongshu.

 

 

 

Although we saw some key words earlier focusing on Chinese-style clothing and personal adornments, the above names show that Chinese users of Xiaohongshu still prefer mostly Western brands. 

Hermes and Lady Dior as well as Chow Sang and Chow Tai are the largest in the cloud. This shows that traditionally strong competitors in this industry remain big names. These searches are in line with China’s broader market. WARC has a good article explaining how Hermes outcompeted Louis Vuitton by having a better social media marketing strategy.

The presence of Uniqlo in this map illustrates that the Japanese apparel company is still going strong in China even though it is facing some headwinds in the USA. Uniqlo has been a popular favorite in China for years. While many other foreign brands have been failing, it has continued to find ways to innovate in the country.

Xiaohongshu Food & Drink Demographics

The next category Qiangua went over is “food and drink”.

 

Above is my translated chart for “food and drink” on Xiaohongshu. While with the last two categories, the urban Gen Z group was the largest demographic, here we see the urban white collar group came out first. Another difference is that the groups in second and third place are much closer to the first place group.

As I said earlier, Qiangua’s definition of “white collar” is a little fuzzy. Gen Z could also be white collar workers. Nevertheless, perhaps this category had more people searching for food and drink because this group is made up of more office workers who need to order food on a daily basis. It could also be because more white collar workers can drink alcohol or have space to cook for themselves. Whatever the case, the anomaly here is interesting.

Xiaohongshu Food & Drink Search Demographics

Below is Qiangua’s chart detailing the most popular search tags on Xiaohongshu.

 

 

It’s no surprise here that the top tags had to do with food. The “student party” tag aligns with the strength of Gen Z in the previous chart. A lot of Gen Z are in university, after all. Perhaps they used Xiaohongshu to get ideas for what food to eat while studying. If this is so, food companies may want to tweak their advertising for Xiaohongshu to include messages about eating and drinking while in school.

Below I have added Qiangua’s word cloud to show some of the top keywords users searched for on Xiaohongshu about this subject.

 

 

 

The largest search term above is “healing food”. This term is not new, even a few years ago there were articles online of Chinese netizens sharing recipes for healthy food to help people stay fit even when they were working overtime. Actually, one interesting trend within this idea was the blowup of “white person food” on the app. Buzzfeed has an article that goes over how what started as a joke by Chinese netizens actually became a welcome reason to try easier food options that lacked as many carbs as Chinese food.

The presence of “hot mulled wine” can be attested to how both Luckin Coffee and Tim Hortons introduced the drink to their menus last winter.

“Midnight diner” is actually a term that became popular from a Japanese TV show with the same name about a restaurant that remains open all night. It is very popular in China. On Xiaohongshu, it has been used by users to share pictures and videos of restaurants they’ve visited in the evening around the world.

Below is Qiangua’s chart for some of the top hashtags used on the platform.

 

 

The tag “roadside food stalls” refers to China’s culture of small stalls selling barbecued items, noodles, or other easy meals on the roadside of cities. These can often be found near busy bar streets to attract any hungry drinkers.

“100 store exploration plan” is an interesting example of how Xiaohongshu often creates campaigns to boost its retention through working with companies. In this marketing stunt, the company selected 100 restaurants or cafes to go to. At each one, users were invited to collect stamps. Xiaohongshu set up “foodie supply stations” where these stamps could be exchanged for rewards. Xiaohongshu also connected this hashtag to others to draw more attention. In doing all of this, the app was able to make its app have more of a community feel and help local businesses in cities as well.

Below is a breakdown of the food and drink products Xiaohongshu users searched for in 2023.

 

 

Western companies not as familiar with modern China may find the strength of the coffee category over tea interesting given China’s traditional association with this product. In fact, it has been well known for many years now that younger Chinese are not as in love with traditional tea as older generations. Actually, the country has been having a fierce competition between new coffee brands like Luckin, Cotti, and Manner.

 

 

The categories in the above graph were further broken down by Qiangua into subcategories.

 

 

Note that I did not include “baking ingredients/seasonings” in my chart like the original Chinese one as a percent was not given.

While “bread & pastries” coming in second may not appear like much to someone from Europe or North America, the strength of this category is actually very intriguing. China does have a pastry culture with food like mantou, but Western bread has not been traditionally as popular as it is in other countries. This has been changing every year. 2023 was no different. Beginning in 2023, bakeries all over China have been popping up offering super cheap products. Could this have a relationship with the strength of the term on Xiaohongshu?

 

 

It makes sense that the “candied fruit/veg/dried fruit” category was big as well. Tanghulu is a traditional Chinese snack made from candied fruit. In fact, this food became super popular on Korean and English TikTok last year. Perhaps Chinese netizens got wind of this evolution and became more interested in sharing advice on how to make it on Xiaohongshu as well. Many Chinese citizens are fans of Kpop and with Korean singers taking part in the international craze over Tanghulu, my theory here may make some sense.

 

 

In the above subcategory, the different products are quite neck-and-neck. Earlier, I addressed the growth of coffee brands in China. Another thing to mention in relation to coffee is that Xiaohongshu has become a viable source for consumer data even with traditional institutions. Last year, the app published a report with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences showing how coffee establishments have become key places for people to meet up and have events. This is yet another reason for brands to pay attention to Xiaohongshu’s place in Chinese society.

It’s important to note that, in 2022. posts including both the keywords “county” and “coffee” on Xiaohongshu increased by 202%, showing that coffee culture has spread to places outside the core cities.

 

 

While the percents in this category are very small, the subcategory of 新鲜水果 or fresh fruit didn’t have a percent provided.

The other three categories within “food and drink” did not have any percents provided at all. Nevertheless, I can go over what was included in these subcategories. In the “healthy food and nutritional supplements” category, there was “gastrointestinal care” and “beauty and skincare”. In the “tea” category, there is “substitute/herbal/fruit/processed teas”. The “alcohol” category is divided between “white wine” and “rice wine”.

Popular Food & Drink Brands on Xiaohongshu

Below is a word cloud for this category.

 

 

The largest words here are “Oreos” and “Chagee Milk Tea”. The latter’s importance here cannot be understated. In 2023, this Yunnanese brand became synonymous with Chinese consumers making DIY products using the brand’s logo. This grassroots trend on Xiaohongshu can serve as an example of something companies can do on Xiaohongshu to spur interest in their brands.

 

 

Here are a few other Chinese brands mentioned above.

 

 

 

One last thing to notice with the above list is the presence of Oatly milk, a Swedish company that has become well known recently for rebranding its oat milk to change the market. The company established its first production facility in China in 2022. After this, the brand hit the ground running. A lot of this happened by them partnering with some of the coffee shops mentioned earlier in this article. This approach, along with their own clever use of hashtags on Xiaohongshu, allowed them to jump on the bandwagon of other trends in China to become super successful.

Xiaohongshu Mother & Baby Care Demographics

The next category within Qiangua’s report is “mother and baby care”.

 

 

The demographics here are a no-brainer. Of course “exquisite moms” is the main group. Regardless, this does show that, in China, women are still the core caregivers. Why is there no group for “fathers”? Perhaps simply because Xiaohongshu is still a woman-dominated app.

The strength of Gen Z in this one is also a little peculiar. As I stated earlier, many of Gen Z are still not within the age group having children.

Mom & Baby Care Search Demographics on Xiaohongshu

Here is a breakdown of the top tags for this category.

 

 

Next, we have the top search terms on Xiaohongshu for this category.

 

 

 

Most of the above is nothing surprising. Most of the search topics are related to educating new mothers on better ways to raise their children. This shows how the app is different to WeChat in that it serves a bigger educational function. 

We see this more in the below chart highlighting the top hashtags and topics users within this category utilized. However, the difference now is that these hashtags have a more funny nature. Some of them are focused on showing off the cuteness of babies or how their new children are interacting with the world.

 

 

By understanding the above chart, brands may want to incorporate more educational content into their ads. Below is Qiangua’s chart and my translation of the top products within this category. These are the product types companies may want to focus on in their ads to gain brand awareness.

 

It’s good to see that toys are still doing very well in China, even in the digital era. However, looks can be deceiving. 2023 was also the year of a very peculiar trend in the country. Many worldwide are aware of reports that China is now facing a birth rate problem. The Chinese government has stepped in to try to incentivise this to change. However, many Chinese women annoyed at being overworked with not enough pay retaliated by going on a shopping spree for stuffed monkeys. Instead of children, many now pretend to raise these toys. Xiaohongshu has been a key place young women have used to post pictures and videos of themselves with their toy animals. This trend became so popular that a report was made about it by a Ph.D. student.

 

 

Another toy last year in China that was a hit with school children was a plastic knife invented by an engineer in Wuhan. This was a popular item on Xiaohongshu.

Below is my translation of Qiangua’s chart on the subcategories within this “mom and baby care” topic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other categories didn’t provide enough data to make graphs. In the “children’s toys” category, however, “relaxation/puzzle toys” made up 9.43%. In the “pregnancy and childbirth” category there was “pregnancy and childbirth nutritional products” and “childbirth recovery”. In the “children’s books” category were “children’s coloring books”.

Popular Mom & Baby Brands on Xiaohongshu

Here is a word cloud Qiangua provided illustrating the top brands within this category.

 

 

 

Again, we see Uniqlo appear in this list like we did with clothing. Legos and Disney can be seen in this list, illustrating that top children’s brands are still a big hit in China. The same can be said for food products, given that Nestle is here.

However, the presence of Chinese brands is interesting. Below are some pictures of the brands that are local to the country. As you can see, China now has powerful players in all areas of this industry.

 

 

 

Xiaohongshu Home Decoration Demographics

Mothers and children need to live somewhere, right? Luckily, Qiangua’s report also includes data on “home decoration” demographics on Xiaohongshu and how brands are making waves on the app.

 

 

The above demographics make sense. Gen Z are probably the biggest group moving apartments to start new careers. Blue and white-collar citizens are more likely to be decorating households they already own.

Xiaohongshu Home Decoration Search Demographics

Here are the top tags related to home decoration on Xiaohongshu.

 

 

The above chart is pretty straightforward. Of course, a tag with the word “home” in it would come out first

Below is a word cloud for the top searched words in this category.

 

 

 

The largest word in the word cloud above is “home aesthetics”. However, many of the other tags have to do with renovation too. The presence of the phrase ‘cream-style” and “soft decor” show what was trendy not only on Xiaohongshu in 2023, but also what was fashionable in China. If we look back at older articles, we can see that cream-style was also popular in 2022.

 

 

Here are the top tags from this category.

 

 

Like with the “mom and baby care” section, users seem to be going to Xiaohongshu for advice on renovation. Seeing how a certain style looks in other peoples’ homes gives people a better idea how it may look in their own.

“My beloved little corner” and “romantic life recorder” refer to pictures that highlight cozy apartments or homes.

 

“Items to bring my home more luck” was a trending hashtag where users shared useful gadgets they thought improved convenience. Convenience is very important in China, perhaps more than other countries. Brands wanting to do well in China may want to figure out ways to jump on this trend in particular by showing off how their products can make life easier.

 

 

The home decoration category was divided into two sub-categories.

 

These two subcategories were further broken down below.

 

The Chinese chart also included 五金电子 or “hardware electronics”, 清洁用品 or “cleaning products”, 厨房卫浴 or “kitchen and bathroom”, 厨卫大电 or “kitchen and bathroom appliances”, and 茶具 or “tea sets” in the “home decorations” category.

 

 

Top Home Decoration Brands on Xiaohongshu

You may be interested in what home decoration brands were popular on Xiaohongshu. Below is Qiangua’s word cloud illustrating this and my translation.

 

 

 

Like with categories we looked at before, the products in this list are a mix of old industry titans and rising Chinese stars.

For the former group, Starbucks still is seen as a luxury brand in China. Having a cup in one’s home could be used to illustrate a person has some status. Another reason this appeared here may be because the brand partnered with the Kpop group Blackpink, a highly successful music act both in China and elsewhere.

 

 

The most popular foreign product on Xiaohongshu it seems was the Deschmann Smart Lock. In fact, smart locks were a very popular item in 2023. Last year, this item saw a 45% jump from 2022, although the Chinese company Xiaomi sold the most overall.

 

 

When it comes to Chinese brands, the largest word in the chart is the Roborock Self-cleaning Sweeping Robot. This product is not only in China. In fact, it already sells in over 140 countries, including the United States, Germany, Australia, and Spain.

 

 

Videos of this product have dealt with anything from Xiaohongshu readers showing how to fix the machine to just showing off how cool it is.

 

 

The Chinese company Changdi and its chef machine was another popular item on Xiaohongshu this year.

 

 

Like the German company earlier, Kaadas’s own smart lock was a hit among Xiaohongshu users. This company also entered the US market last year.

 

 

Dreame Technology is a Chinese manufacturer of household appliances. Its vacuum cleaner was popular on Xiaohongshu in 2023. Despite this company only being founded in 2017, it has already entered the US market.

 

 

 

The sofa brand Cheers is also owned by the Chinese company Man Wah.

 

Many of the other products on this list are also emerging or well-known Chinese brands.

Xiaohongshu Sports & Outdoor Demographics

We are nearing the final categories in our analysis of Xiaohongshu. Sports and outdoor activities are popular in China, as they are anywhere, including Little Red Book.

 

 

For this category, the top three groups are all neck-and-neck. They all reside in first tier cities as well.

Xiaohongshu Sport & Outdoor Search Demographics

Here are the top tags related to the “sports and outdoor” category.

 

 

From the above chart, we can see that the app’s users want good sports and outdoor equipment. Cheapness is not as important. We also see that students are interested in this category as well as people who are about making their homes a welcoming place.

Below is Qiangua’s word cloud to show what users looked for the most on Xiaohongshu. I have translated many of the words in the chart that follows this. 

 

 

 

The biggest words in this cloud are hiking, camping, cycling, and running. These may seem basic, but camping was not as popular prior to the pandemic. In fact, all of these sports and the entire outdoor industry have seen such growth in recent years that even the government has announced plans to help foster it.

What does this mean for brands looking to sell in China? In fact, these details are not just useful for companies that make products within the sports industry. This list of activities show us what Chinese people are interested in doing outside of work. They tell us how companies can connect with consumers. Understanding what sports Chinese citizens are interested in can assist companies know what subjects to include in their ads or campaigns on Xiaohongshu or other apps.

Let’s dive deeper by looking at the top hashtags related to this section.

 

 

“Invisible fitness” refers to a trend where users share tips on how others can stay fit or lose weight without others knowing. Every other topic here is quite straightforward, but it shows that Chinese citizens are very interested in tourism. The popularity of skiing is also interesting, given the expenses needed for this sport. If we put this within the context of the Chinese economy apparently not doing too well, we see that Chinese citizens still have money to spend. Skiing has blown up since the pandemic.

Let’s now check out what products Xiaohongshu’s users searched for.

 

 

The two biggest categories were “working out/training” and “sport/footwear”. Gym and fitness culture has been growing in China over the past decade. However, this trend actually coincides with Xiaohongshu’s focus on women. In 2023, women started using social media apps like Xiaohongshu to share information about fitness clubs that can act as safe spaces for women. Could this trend have a relationship with the success of working out/training products on Xiaohongshu?

Let’s break these categories down more to see what else we can learn.

 

 

The Chinese chart does not include a percent for 台球用品 or “pool/snooker items”, so I didn’t include it in my own. It is no surprise that basketball was number one here. Basketball has been a fan favorite in China for years, especially since Yao Ming played in the United States. We see again here that skiing is number two, but the popularity of golf is interesting for the same reason: it is generally a sport that costs money.

 

 

 

The last subcategory is “Outdoor Equipment”. In this category, “travel outfits” took up 4.22%. The other subcategory in this is 露营/野炊装备 or “camping/picnic equipment”, but these had no percents given.

Top Sport & Outdoor Brands on Xiaohongshu

Let’s check out what brands Xiaohongshu users were most interested in.

 

 

 

The largest words in the word cloud are “Arc’teryx jacket” and “Nike sneakers”. There has been a lot of talk in recent years about local Chinese brands challenging the dominance of Nike, but this data on Xiaohongshu shows that the American company still is the top dog. Part of Nike’s strategy has been to run a marketing campaign focused on female empowerment and getting women more into sports. Xiaohongshu’s strong focus on women helped with this. Many women last year used the social media platform to post about their experiences with Nike.

While these two foreign companies were the biggest words in the above chart, Lululemon was the brand that appeared the most. This is no surprise. The Canadian company has been doing well in China for a while now. Part of its success last year was due to a trend on Xiaohongshu called “white girl aesthetic” where women wore Lululemon’s clothing.

 

 

The presence of Major Leagues Baseball hats is interesting too. The sport has had trouble picking up in China, but China did defeat Japan in the Asian Games in 2022. Amateur leagues have been popping up and accounts on social media dedicated to the sport have been gaining steam. Xiaohongshu has been one place people have been sharing info about baseball hats. The below picture started a conversation about hard or soft hats.

 

 

The strength of Camel here links well with our earlier discussion about the growth of hiking and camping. Kalias, a Chinese brand, and its hiking shoes can be attributed to this phenomenon too. Jackets from both brands appear in the chart. Beneunder is another Chinese company focused on jumping on the growth of outdoor activities.

Xiaohongshu Pet Demographics

The last category is pets. Below is a chart illustrating the demographics of users who interacted with this category.

 

 

One thing to mention here is that pets have not always been popular in China. In fact, it is a fairly recent event. Part of the craze in recent years is due to the birth of short-form videos on social media like Xiaohongshu. Given this connection, let’s see if we can learn more about the pet industry in China by looking at some demographics on the app.

Xiaohongshu Pet Search Demographics

 

It makes sense why “cute pet clan” came in second here. It includes the word “pets”. However, the strength of the “student party” tag is intriguing. Perhaps its strength in this category over a more obvious choice can be linked with this group’s flexibility to be in many different categories. Many young people in Gen Z are students after all. The presence of “quality products” here also shows that owners take great care to provide a good life for their pets. Perhaps there is a relationship too to our earlier conversation that many Chinese are looking for alternatives to children. Pets, like stuffed animals, are just another example of this, though they require much more care.

Let’s see if we can glean more from the terms users searched for.

 

 

 

The largest word above is “pet cat”. In fact, we can see the word “cat” across the board more in the above chart. This is in line with the general trend in China. UBS published a chart recently highlighting how cats had become more popular than dogs in the country.

 

 

This trend is important. China is now one of the top emerging markets for cat food. Xiaohongshu has helped this. One particular phenomenon on the social media app in 2023 was Chinese pet owners taking their cats to their local marriage markets to set them up on blind dates.Brands may be interested in jumping on the desire to learn how to raise pets scientifically too. 

 

 

What else can we learn about the pet industry from Xiaohongshu’s demographics? Below is Qiangua’s chart on the app’s top hashtags.

 

 

Here we find some similarities with the global online trend of people loving to watch funny cat videos. However, we can also glean from this more evidence that Chinese netizens see their pets as family members. They pay special focus to the stories of how their pets grow up, similar to a baby human. Given that social media content will only continue to play a larger role in marketing in the future, companies may consider incorporating trends like these into their ads or even partnering with popular Xiaohongshu channels related to pets similar to how the same is done in the West on TikTok or Youtube.

Let’s now check out what products users searched for on Xiaohongshu.

 

 

None of this is really surprising, but let’s break down these groups further to learn a little more.

 

 

Here we see a continuation of China’s love affair with cats over dogs.

 

But why do dogs outnumber cats when it comes to snacks despite cats being the more popular pet of choice? Perhaps dogs just eat more snacks than cats?

 

 

 

The Chinese chart did not provide a percent for 口/耳/眼护理 or “Mouth/Ear/Eye Care” in this subcategory.

 

 

The other subcategories can be broken down as follows:

 

 

Looking at this data, if birds took up 7.52% and the “animal” group was 8.34%, one must ask not only what the remaining amount consisted of but also what this means for cats and dogs. Surely, birds weren’t purchased more than cats and dogs, unless these two animals were left out of the  “animal” category.

Top Pet Brands on Xiaohongshu

Now that we understand that cats were the most popular pet in China and that pet food was the most searched item on Xiaohongshu, let’s see what pet brands users looked for.

 

 

 

The largest word in this chart is “Instinct cat food”. Instinct’s products are manufactured in Nebraska, USA. The strength of this brand may be attributed to the earlier data point I mentioned concerning Chinese users’ preferability for quality pet food. Indeed, the US is now the largest exporter of pet food to China. This chart also illustrates the strength of Chinese pet brands. Nourse, Gaoyea, Honest Bite, Rosy Fresh, and Myfoodie are all Chinese. Gaoyea and Rosy Fresh are fairly new companies. Both started operations only a few years before the pandemic. It’s fascinating to see that they have become top searches in such a short time.

Pet enthusiasts use Xiaohongshu to exchange information about different brands.

 

 

Below is a video of an influencer talking about her experience with Instinct.

 

 

The pet food market in China is just heating up. The presence of so many companies in the above list shows that the competition is fierce. This is one reason why any American pet food company hoping to do well in China will need a good understanding of Xiaohongshu to stay in the game! Given the importance of China to the American pet industry, it’s a definite must!

Activity Demographics

As touched on earlier, a key difference between Xiaohongshu and WeChat is that the former is a lot more focused on what it is trying to do. WeChat can be used for marketing, but its main purpose is messaging. This difference has given Xiaohongshu a leg up when it comes to branding.

Xiaohongshu’s users the app when researching topics or products of interest, check up on trends, and to learn more about things they are interested in. Just like TikTok and Youtube in the West, influencers are a big part of Xiaohongshu’s ecosystem.

According to Qiangua, 80 million users actively share content on the app, 60% search on a daily basis, and 90% of Xiaohongshu’s content is created by users.

 

 

When Are Users Most Active on Xiaohongshu?

Qiangua’s report on Xiaohongshu is really excellent. For anyone who can read Chinese, I recommend downloading it. The company even provided data on how much time users spent on the app during the week.

 

 

As you can see above, Sunday (周日) was when users are the most active on the app with Monday (周一) coming in second. This information may be useful to companies interested in putting out content to attract users. Knowing which days users are active on the app can help you organize your content schedule.

Xiaohongshu for Brands

Hopefully this report on Xiaohongshu has helped revealing how powerful the app is as a tool for communicating with Chinese citizens, especially Gen Z. There is certainly a lot happening on this app, but don’t worry! That is why we made this demographic guide for 2024. If you are interested in marketing a product on Xiaohongshu, be sure to reach out to us.

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