What can TikTok do for retail brands?

It is well worth luxury and fashion brands investing in TikTok, retail pundits say. This is because Chinese Millennials and Gen Z-ers absolutely love it, and increasingly young European and US consumers love it too.

Bain & Co. believes that Chinese Gen Z-ers will become a “powerful force in the luxury industry”, driven by the latest social media and influencer trends. For example, prosperous and brand-obsessed Chinese Gen Z-ers are the driving force behind Gucci’s success it seems. Last year, 62% of Gucci’s $8 billion in sales came from the under-35 consumer group –  digital-first young people, glued to their smartphones.

What’s so special about TikTok?

TikTok users around the world sing, dance, and lip-sync on this Chinese social media video-sharing platform, which is billed as giving everyone the chance of 15 seconds of fame.  In two years, it has built up an audience of almost a half a billion users, and a +237% monthly growth rate between 2018-18.

Reportedly 66% of its users are under the age of 30, which is why western luxury brands are starting to explore TikTok as a marketing tool to target and expand their younger consumer base in 2020. They are starting to overcome their privacy and security concerns and are beginning to experiment with TikTok videos.

Here are four reasons why TikTok is on retail marketers’ radar:


Marketers able to convey an authentic and original brand voice on the platform will engender their company with TikTok users around the world, boosting brand identity, brand awareness and brand value. What makes it especially useful from a brand awareness point of view is that people don’t need to follow your account to discover your content. Instead, the ‘Discover’ page of the app automatically feeds them videos they will likely find entertaining, or they can search for videos by using hashtags related to their preferred topics.


Creative video content on TikTok can be engaging, rebellious and funny, just what’s needed to attract the attention of young, affluent consumers. Digital marketers understand that video content compliments storytelling and viral sharing, and when done well, can lead to sales and ROI. TikTok is the ultimate destination for sharable quirky short-videos, which makes it an ideal platform for luxury brands to create video content to reach a younger consumer base.


TikTok appears to have mastered the art of localised video marketing, resulting in high engagement rates in countries like India and China. And, in a double win, TikTok’s cultural strategy is helping Western brands publicise their content in the country of their choice while also connecting retailers to local talents. “Our localisation strategy helps us in encouraging users to create relevant and local content along with incorporating global trends in localised flavour,” says Raj Mishra, Business head, TikTok India.


Most brands, even luxury brands, are struggling to optimise their marketing budgets while pushing for global growth. For SMEs who are struggling to take their products and services abroad because they lack multi-million dollar marketing campaigns, TikTok is an affordable marketing opportunity.

Which retailers have already tasted success with TikTok?


TikTok BurberryBurberry – already winning on TikTok

Burberry was one of the first luxury labels to run both paid and organic campaigns on Tik Tok across the US and UK. As part of its Fall 2019 campaign, Burberry challenged users to upload videos of themselves attempting to do a ‘TB hand gesture’, reflecting the Thomas Burberry monogram newly instated from creative director Riccardo Tisci.

Over 30,000 videos were uploaded to the platform, generating 57 million views for the brand. The company reported a 4% increase in sales, suggesting that the strategy worked.


Uniqlo Tik Tok Uniqlo – engaging with content

Apparel retailer Uniqlo teamed up with Tiktok as part of its #UTPlayYourWorld campaign to promote its 2019 spring/summer collection. Users were encouraged to upload videos wearing their favourite outfits from the collection and would be entered into a competition to get their video played in store.

The campaign was available for those in the US, France, Japan and Taiwan and generated over 600 million views on the platform.

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