Tufting: Are brands ready to tap into China’s Gen Z’s new hobby?

Tufting, also known as Chuochuoxiu in Chinese, has seen a growing presence on China’s social media. The traditional rug-making activity originally from America has become a new obsession amongst young Chinese since last September, using it as a way to alleviate pressure, be it from work or life.

While items that comprise this hobby, such as wool and tufting guns, has recorded over one thousand monthly sales per unit on one of China’s biggest e-commerce platforms Taobao, videos under the hashtag of #chuochuosxiu# on China’s TikTok, Douyin garnered an accumulated view of 380 million as of 11 March.

Additionally, Xiaohongshu, the largest lifestyle-sharing platform for China’s Gen Z, has recorded an average 70,000 notes related to tufting. The platform also reported a nearly five-fold increase in this content within the last three months of 2021, showing the rapid growth of this emerging trend in China.

Image: Weibo

The business offline has also seen a swift expansion, with dozens of tufting shops soon arriving in top-tier as well as lower-tier cities where this handwork has been particularly well-received due to the lack of entertaining options in those smaller areas. In the city of Guangzhou, there is an estimated 30 tufting stores, 20 of whom popped up just at the beginning of this year, according to a tufting shop owner in the city.

The activity appears to be an ideal pastime, particularly for young women as it is understood most of the visitors to these shops are women aged between 20 and 30 years old. They not only find these shaggy materials irresistible but also enjoy the process of drawing customised patterns with a tufting gun, which turns out to be a good way to deal with stress. The final product alone provides a sense of self-achievement.

Image: Tianxia Wangshang

The popularity of this activity has also turned these tufting shops into a place, not only for those into handicrafts but also a spot for photo opportunities, with young visitors posing in front of their artwork and sharing on social media, furthering the ongoing hype in the digital space. The business which can generate a monthly revenue of up to 80,000 RMB ($12,629.9) has soon drawn in fashion brands, as well as those specialising in children’s products to leverage this rising trend through activities such as a pop-up store collaboration.


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