The Unstoppable Male Consumption Upgrade
COVID-19 and China
Designer sneakers or sporty styles are popular in young men. Photo: Credit to Hunter Johnson on Unsplash

Shopping is no longer an exclusive word for women.

With the influence of live broadcasting and social media, male aesthetic consciousness began to awaken that 95’s (refers to people born after 1995) begin to release tremendous vitality.

According to data unveiled by Taobao in 2018, more than 3 million of search volume under the phrase “fashion brand” were contributed by man. The transaction amount following these searches increased by 185% year-on-year. Moreover, the GMV for men who purchase makeups surged 140%, compared with only 15% increase for the whole sector. Top 3 makeups are BB cream, concealer and mascara.

Although men are slightly inferior to women in terms of frequency of purchase and brand knowledge, they are increasingly up to speed on the latest trends and designers, taking cues from style blogs and social media. In addition, men have long preferred shopping trips to be targeted with simple logic, once they identify certain brands, they will be more loyal and insensitive to price than women.

China UnionPay said in one of its consumption reports that 23% of man spend more than CNY 5,000 a month in 2017, while that number of women is 15% in the same period. There’s a famous ranking in consumer brands investment that kids > women > pets > men, meaning companies targeted the male consumer market are less likely to be successful than counterparties who focus on the other three.

Maybe it’s time for us to rearrange or at least reconsider the sequence.

Another report released by Taobao on men’s trend consumption analyzed that 90’s bring highest GMV. And for 90’s male consumers, the most frequently searched items are “shoes”, while the most checked words is “Chao” ( 潮, means fashion or style in Chinese).

Under this background, several male-targeted social media platforms emerged. CHAO and Du APP (毒) under Zhihu and Hupu respectively, are derivative brands from male social media under a UGC business model. They focused on high-consumption young men who love fashion brands and outdoor sports, have great enthusiasm for shoes, designer sneakers or sporty styles in particular. 

Du App is originated from, the most popular social media websites for sports commentary and news.  Based on these group of male users, Du App has gradually formed a comprehensive online platform that integrates genuine sports shoes trading, authenticity identification of shoe brand and interactive photo community.

With "shoe identification" as the core service, it is committed to creating a free community for young people to communicate, display and share. The more than 10-billion GMV in 2018 and an approximately tens of billions of GMV this year helped Du App finish its Series A round of funding on April. It's valuation reached CNY 1 billion and became a new unicorn in China's retail market.

"Men Are Shopping Like Women", a heading from Wall Street Journey by Ray A. Smith, who also stated the shifting trends in male consumer's behavior. "In a big shift, men are seeking out style trends, making impulse purchases and taking time to browse."

Global sales of men’s designer apparel continue to grow at a healthy clip. Retailers and designer labels have been expanding their men’s areas. Saks Fifth Avenue plans to open a men’s-only store in New York City next year. New York added a men’s fashion week last year. 

The consumption upgrade for men is unstoppable.

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