Selfie culture is driving online sales in China’s winter sports market

Those who purchased winter sporting goods also bought moisturizers, selfie sticks and waterproof cameras.
China user behavior market research: selfie culture ski snow sports market

The data

The “selfie economy” is becoming a significant factor in online sales of winter sports products. Purchase pattern data from shopping portal Tmall 天猫 shows that those who bought winter sporting goods were also likely to invest in seasonal makeup like moisturizers, and photo equipment like selfie sticks and waterproof cameras. The trend was most obvious in users born between 1995-1999, a generation of digital natives.

Why it matters

Selfie culture isn’t just changing the winter sports market, it’s changing the landscape of digital China.

Jiayang Fan at the New Yorker lays bare the omnipresence of selfies and photo beautification in her piece on internet celebrities and beautification apps:

Worldwide, Meitu’s apps generate some six billion photos a month, and it has been estimated that more than half the selfies uploaded on Chinese social media have been edited using Meitu’s products. [A famous online influencer] told me that it is considered a solecism to share a photo of yourself that you haven’t doctored. “Selfies are part of Chinese culture now, and so is Meitu-editing selfies,” she said.

So what’s the takeaway?

From a corporate point of view, selfies need to be considered as a usability issue for any product or campaign where they might play a role. Product features designed to support or enhance selfies, and experiential, digital or meatverse marketing campaigns designed to encourage them, deserve a very close look if you’re targeting China. There are even, as Ms. Fan points out, opportunities for creative product collaborations directly with selfie apps:

[Selfie app] Meitu has recently started partnerships with a number of cosmetics brands, including Sephora, Lancôme, and Bobbi Brown; users can test products on their selfies and then be redirected to the brands’ Web sites to place their orders.

From a safety perspective, though? Don’t ski and selfie, kids.


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