We know Tencent’s Weibo and WeChat primarily as social media, but both apps also appear to play an important role in the purchase of luxury products.
A survey by the Boston Consulting Group and Tencent found that consumers are looking for luxury items usually begin their purchasing process with Weibo and WeChat.
WeChat is China’s most popular messaging app and has 1.1 billion monthly users, Weibo is used by 465 microbloggers per month.
The survey found that 52% of consumers discovered new luxury items on WeChat, followed by 28% on Weibo and 19% on the “social shopping app” RED. 43% of consumers used WeChat to further study luxury brands, compared to 35% at Weibo and 29% at RED.
The research does not tell where consumers ultimately make their purchases, but it is clear that luxury brands that want to attract Chinese customers cannot ignore WeChat and Weibo.
Two years ago Tencent launched mini apps for WeChat. With these apps, you play games, order food and arrange your transport. These mini apps run in the WeChat environment and allow Tencent to manage a mobile ecosystem of apps without the need for an operating system such as iOS or Android.
Gartner recently reported that 70% of luxury brands now operate WeChat mini apps, compared to only 40% in 2018. Mini apps help Tencent in a number of ways: it links luxury brands to the WeChat Pay payment platform, makes advertising on WeChat more attractive and binds users to the WeChat ecosystem. Mini apps also make it attractive for users to purchase cloud services from WeChat.