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Marketing to Subcultures - China - May 2019

Covered in this report

In contrast to mainstream culture, subcultures may initially generate controversy. Unlike fads, which are short-term trends, subcultures develop into ways to signify identify or symbols of groups of people who share common interests or values.

This report looks at six popular subcultures with large fan bases today. For each subculture, 500 respondents were selected to represent the corresponding subculture. The six subcultures are:

  • Comics and animation
  • Video games
  • Science fiction (eg science fiction novels/films)
  • Street culture (eg street dance, street art, hip-hop)
  • Archaic customs or gufeng (eg Chinese archaic music, Chinese archaic clothes)
  • Celebrity idols (excluding virtual Idol)

“Subculture lovers devote a lot of time to their hobbies. They are willing to share their interests and be more engaged in activities related to their interests. Brands would do well to integrate online and offline resources and increase interaction with consumers in real life. Meanwhile, understanding and authenticity should be showcased through marketing communication.”
– Scarlett Zhao, Associate Research Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Subculture IPs act as symbols of identity for fans, who enjoy being inspired by and consuming a variety of cross-category products
  • Increasing popularity of offline events and activities to meet fans’ need for peer connection
  • Emergence of virtual avatar marketing

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Fan numbers continue to grow and relegated products/activities more prevalent than ever
              • The consumer
                • Half of subculture enthusiasts have more than five years’ experience
                  • Figure 1: Duration of different interests, January 2019
                • 1 in 5 are active fans, spending more than RMB600 on hobbies per month
                  • Figure 2: Spending on interests, January 2019
                • Online and offline interaction almost equally important
                  • Figure 3: Attitude towards interests, January 2019
                • Video is dominant information channel
                  • Figure 4: Information channels, January 2019
                • Strong interest in platforms’ activity recommendation functions
                  • Figure 5: Drivers to use the platform crossed by spending level (top), January 2019
                • Limited-edition tie-in products can help to boost short-term sales
                  • Figure 6: Factors influencing brand image, January 2019
                • What we think
                • Issues and Insights

                  • Subculture IPs act as symbols of identity for fans, who enjoy being inspired by and consuming a variety of cross-category products
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • Figure 7: MAC x Arena of Valor Lipstick
                        • Figure 8: 7-eleven x Avengers: Endgame
                      • Increasing popularity of offline events and activities to meet fans’ need for peer connection
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                            • Figure 9: KFC x Gintama themed store
                          • Emergence of virtual avatar marketing
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Figure 10: Noonoouri in Tokyo
                                • Figure 11: KFC virtual influencer colonel
                            • The Market – What You Need to Know

                              • Subcultures offer promising market potential
                                • Tie-in products and activities are popular
                                • Market Size

                                    • Video game market holds bright potential
                                      • Figure 12: Revenue of China games market, 2008-18
                                    • Anime and comics spark interest from venture capital
                                      • Science fiction films luring more consumers’ eyeballs
                                      • Market Factors

                                        • Cross-category: cross merchandising is on the rise
                                          • Cross-regional: geographic distribution of subcultures is dispersed
                                            • Figure 13: Comic exhibition posters
                                          • Cross-demographic: subcultures not only for the young
                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                            • Half of respondents pursue a hobby for over five years
                                              • Average spend per month around RMB400
                                                • The significant role of social networking in subcultures
                                                  • Consumers love video platforms
                                                    • Faster information updates and activity recommendation are more appealing
                                                      • Effective marketing methods
                                                      • Consumer Persona

                                                        • Subculture lovers devote time to their hobbies
                                                            • Figure 14: Duration of different interests, January 2019
                                                          • Similar degree of spending across different hobby groups
                                                            • Figure 15: Spending on interests, January 2019
                                                          • High spending fans spread across genders and locations
                                                            • Figure 16: Spending level, by selected demographics, January 2019
                                                          • Willingness to devote time and money
                                                            • Figure 17: Attitudes towards interest time crossed by spending level (top), January 2019
                                                            • Figure 18: Attitudes towards interest crossed by spending level (top), January 2019
                                                          • High demand for social connection
                                                            • Figure 19: Attitudes towards interest crossed by spending level (top), January 2019
                                                            • Figure 20: Attitudes towards interest crossed by spending level (top), January 2019
                                                        • Attractive Features of Information Channels

                                                          • Keeping up with new hobby trends via videos
                                                            • Figure 21: Information channels, January 2019
                                                          • 18-29s love Weibo
                                                            • Figure 22: Information channels, by selected demographics, January 2019
                                                          • Live streaming more appealing to high spending consumers
                                                            • Figure 23: Information channels of different interests crossed by spending level (top), January 2019
                                                            • Figure 24: Attitudes towards interest crossed by spending level (top), January 2019
                                                          • Enriching user engagement forms can be a key opportunity
                                                            • Figure 25: Top three drivers for using the platform, January 2019
                                                            • Figure 26: Drivers for using the platform, January 2019
                                                          • Specialised information, more themes, and direct product availability appeal to high spending fans
                                                            • Figure 27: Drivers for using the platform crossed by spending level (top), January 2019
                                                        • Effective Branding

                                                          • Increase brand exposure by introducing limited-edition co-branded products
                                                            • Figure 28: Factors influencing brand image, January 2019
                                                            • Figure 29: Factors influencing brand image - TURF Analysis - January 2019
                                                          • Leverage offline activities to communicate with consumers
                                                            • Figure 30: 2018 House of Vans Shanghai
                                                          • Celebrity/KOLs have the greatest impact on 18-24s
                                                            • Figure 31: Factors influencing brand image, by ‘endorsed by my favourite stars/KOLs’, by selected demographic, January 2019
                                                            • Figure 32: LINE friends x BTS
                                                        • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                          • Mintropolitans usually stick to a hobby for a longer time
                                                            • Figure 33: Years spent on being part of their subculture, by selected demographics, January 2019
                                                          • Seeking specialism and social interaction
                                                            • Figure 34: Information channels, by selected demographics, January 2019
                                                          • Crazy about limited-edition products
                                                            • Figure 35: Gap of influencing factors of brand image between MinTs and non-MinTs (as benchmark), January 2019
                                                        • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                          • Methodology
                                                            • Abbreviations

                                                            Marketing to Subcultures - China - May 2019

                                                            US $4,460.00 (Excl.Tax)