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  • Andrew Thacker

THE ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM.


Pt. 5/5 : Two Views Of The Chinese Consumer.



Now that we’ve looked at some of the key characteristics of consumer behaviour inside and outside of China, evident across all segments, let’s please address the elephants in the room…



No discussion of consumers would be complete without touching on the Millennial and Gen-Z cohorts.


The younger generation in China, growing up in a decadelong economic boom, are often stereotyped as lavish spenders, more concerned with instant gratification than saving for stability. They are more willing to spend on experiences and luxury goods than other generations (aside from Gen-Z).


They are also the first digitally savvy generation meaning they are more likely to participate on social media platforms and purchase goods through eCommerce.


Changing perspective on life, embracing the idea of a slow living lifestyle, finding joy in simple moments.

LIE FLAT

躺平

(tǎng píng)


Sustainability and good valuesincreasingly important in the pursuit for better quality of life

An example of this can be seen in the videos by Chinese cooking and lifestyle vlogger Li Ziqi. She rose to fame in 2019 with her mesmerising videos of slow-paced living in the Sichuan rural countryside. She seems to be able to make everything from scratch, from farming, foraging, to raising animals, woodcarving. It is the naturalness and sureness with which she does things that makes the videos so compelling, as does the evocation of a quiet, very pastoral, very ancient way of life. Countless Chinese urban dwellers are viewing Li’s videos as a form of pure escapism.



Post-pandemic behaviour is more complex: while a lot of people have higher savings after spending less on discretionary purchases during the lockdown period, many were also badly affected by the pandemic. Government support policies were less substantial in China than here, and many small business owners were left to their own devices.

According to Mintel’s Jessica Jin, the gradual slowing of growth in the macro economy and accumulation of wealth over the past ten years had already triggered consumers to establish prudent consumption habits.


(The Chinese Consumer 2020, Mintel)  


This is another example of the young generation feeling burnt out and following the “lie flat” trend:


(886 – signing off work; Koujiojio – picking one’s feet out of boredom, Cat – petting cat; Paddle – slacking off, surrender - giving up)


Olympic Games that I am confident in competing
本人有信心参加的奥运项目

From the recent Weibo trending topic: Olympic Games That I Am Confident In Competing (#本人有信心参加的奥运项目#) we saw a talented and witty member of the public redesigning the sports icons to reflect the state of mind of many city workers. The drawings resonated with a lot of young people, with the topic receiving 110million views and 46,000 discussions.


  • 45% of respondents aged 21-30 said their incomes had dropped during the pandemic — more than any other age group. 

  • 57% of consumers born after 1990 and 63% of those born after 1995 intend to plan their spending more carefully in the future.


According to a survey by Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and Chinese publication The Paper, nearly 45% of respondents aged 21-30 said their incomes had dropped during the pandemic — more than any other age group.  Many young people are re-examining their lives and spending habits. At the same time, experts say millennials are showing an unprecedented interest in pinching pennies.


In March, a survey by Zhongyan Research Institute focused on consumer trends, found that 57% of consumers born after 1990 and 63% of those born after 1995 intend to plan their spending more carefully in the future. The same millennials who used to carelessly spend money from their parents are growing up and becoming parents themselves and changing their spending behaviour from impulsive to more prudent.


The Chinese market is not only distinctive and diversified, it is also ever evolving.

 


Keep an eye for our follow-up, on the Challenge of China and the 8 steps to success.



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