Buy Buy China says that there are 40 million more men in China than women, and that the workforce there is approximately 54 percent male. But marketing experts are busy pandering to a very profitable minority: the BFMs (or bai fu mei), which translates into “white, affluent, beautiful” women.
Much more likely to spend on consumer goods than China’s “rich and handsome” GFSs or the “lowly and cash-strapped” ACQs, these affluent female urbanites are considered China’s most important shopping demographic: they earn more than RMB 20,000 and spend at least RMB 2,000 on online shopping.
They make up just 1.13 percent of all Taobao’s overall female users, but they account for more than 7 percent of its spending (particularly those BFMs between the ages of 30 and 40).
So where do the BFMs come from?
They can be frequently spotted in Shanghai, where 104,000 out of an estimated 941,000 of them live. Zhejiang is the province with the highest concentration of them: 128,000. Many come from smaller cities like Panjin, Ningde, Yibin, Karamay, and Guiyang – which explains why they fancy online shopping.
photo credit: ross pollack