Do you really understand the Chinese consumer?(1)

TMO GroupJune 23, 2017
Do you really understand the Chinese consumer?(1)

Character design It refers to the detailed settings of characters in anime, fiction, game and film, which consists of appearances, outfits, looks etc. — Wikipedia

What is “Free Character Design”?

Recently in China, “Free Character Design” has become a hot topic, Character design is a type of character packaging for selling image concepts. It can be also related to the user segmentation. However, for now, Chinese society is the breaking ice on stereotypes of genders and ages. Consumers are more self-conscious and therefore have become more free and creative with the designs of their own characters.

Does it affect the consumer buying behavior?

The answer is: Absolutely yes!

The following sales growth statistics are based on T-mall reports May 2017:

  • Male cosmetics/care products sales – Peaked at 1.5 times of the overall cosmetics growth in China.
  • Vibrator sales – Sales grew by a staggering 51 times that of the previous year.
  • A boost in other area – drones, GoPro, and high-end outdoor products, as it turns out, people over 40 years old’s are heavy consumers in these segments and run high above the overall consumer trends than the younger generation.

This indicates that people are parting ways with the old character stereotypes, and this snowball is growing which will further increase this fad. This means that multiple character tags could describe a single person. Even to the point that it appears to be contradictory.

We selected 9 of the most representative contradictory character designs, and start introducing from this article to dive straight in and check out what is happening on the topic of consumerism in China.

1.“Sissy Straight Guy”


Definition: What categorizes men as Sissy Straight Guy is pretty complicated. They are the ones who tend to be wobbling on the edges of unstable egos. On one side, they identify with the traditional look of “man” with emphasis on chest and bicep muscles to be bursting out of their shirts. Meanwhile, fine of quality life and delicate tastes are as preferable as to the point that is perhaps too picky.

2.“Active Home Bird”


Definition: It refers to those who get entangled in busy social events and interactions but are home birds at heart. Due to the specialty of certain professions, like the businessman, they usually throw themselves into lots of social activities. From outside, they are rich and satisfied in life, giving the impression of someone who is adept and quick to interact with others. However, deep at heart, they are eager to be alone, or more willing to spend time at home rather than hanging out during the holidays.



Definition: Unconfined by past aesthetic standards, some of them could be mistaken for butch. Choosing a well-fitted suit for work minimizes the feminine side of their attire. As a result, they are purposefully shaping themselves in demeanor and character of a conventional gentleman.

4.“Tough/hardboiled Forest Girl”


Definition: Hardboiled forest girls give a more realistic impression than the so-called soft, girly girl or true tough girl. They wear a soft and gentle face, speak in a lower voice, seldom care about their make-up, are cuddly with small animals, but deep down they are more inclined to be independent and reluctant to act cute as is expected of girls.All these add up to a harmless species with affections and self-esteem.

To be continued… In the next episode, we are going to reflect the below Character Designs:

“The Elaborate Man”

“Cute Uncle”

“Stylish Pleb”

“Plain Goddess”

“Teen Auntie”

So stay tuned and see you next week!

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