Aggiornamento: 19 feb 2021
Di Barbara Violato
Xiaohongshu (小红书), literally “Little Red Book”, also known as “RED”, is among China’s fastest growing social e-commerce applications.
Created in 2013 as a platform to share reviews and best practices regarding the purchase of products abroad, it currently allows users to share comments, ideas and useful advice on the purchase and use of a wide variety of products; in addition, the platform also has its own e-commerce, through which it is possible to purchase many of the products mentioned in users’ posts and comments.
Due to its function, Chinese users often use Xiaohongshu to search for useful information, such as reviews, purchase tips and tutorial videos made by the app users, about the products they are interested in.
Actually, we can imagine Xiaohongshu as a union between Instagram and Pinterest, where you can save posts published by other users, interact with them through likes and comments, create and share your own content, get in touch with the official pages of the brands we are interested in. In addition and unlike Instagram and Pinterest, you can make purchases directly through Xiaohongshu, on a platform where users are very united and where the sense of Community is very strong.
Characteristics and numbers
RED was born as a social e-commerce app and is one of the very few platforms that have received investment from both Tencent and Alibaba. Among the 2018 milestones, the following should be mentioned:
In May 2019, Alibaba invested $300 million (round D) in the platform; At the end of August there were around 150 million users, with 30 million active users each month; On November 28, 2018 Taobao officialized the integration with XHS: this means that the user who wants to make a purchase on Taobao, but does not trust the reviews he finds on the platform, can view comments, posts and information related to the product in questions shared on XHS.
According to a Questmobile “中国移动互联网2018秋季大报告” research dated August 2018, 85% of the app users are women, 58% of the total users are under 24 years old, 26% are between 25 and 30 years old, 9% are between 31 and 35 years old, 5% are between 35 and 40 years old and 2% are over 40. It is therefore relatively easy to identify the target consumer of Xiaohongshu (mainly women under 30 years of age) and intercept them.
How to use Xiaohongshu
Xiaohongshu has quickly won the hearts of 150 million users for one simple reason: Chinese consumers do not trust product reviews they find through web searches, online advertising and product comments on e-commerce sites (as it is well known that comments and reviews are often fake, or untrue). An application dedicated to sharing opinions, comments and best practices on the use of products is therefore what the consumer needed!
The RED algorithm creates a customized home page, where posts are shown, based on the type of content that the user views most frequently, the interactions the user has with the posts, the content they share and the accounts that follow.
The platform is divided into 3 main types of home pages:
Follow: through which you can view the content posted by the accounts followed;
Explore: through which you can see the recommended content, then the most popular ones, videos or posts organized by thematic areas;
Nearby: through which you can interact with shared content, related to places in our vicinity.
Posts appear in order of popularity and relevance of the content and the level of interest of the post triumphs over the level of fun that the content can offer.
User uses RED as a real search engine, in which he searches for information about products, through the use of keywords and hashtags. Users are also very active: they can interact with other posts, through likes and comments, share posts or re-share content from other accounts. The quality of product information is considered very high, precisely because the user uses the platform to share their experience with a product through images, videos and comments, or to ask questions to other users who are more experienced in using certain products.
In addition, many users make purchases directly through XHS, while others search for information on this platform, and then purchase products on other sites or directly in store, depending on their buying habits or the channel that is most convenient.
Xiaohongshu is therefore an effective channel to test the Chinese market’s response to foreign products.
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