Gen-Z: Born from 1995-2010, reportedly buys 15 per cent of all luxury goods sold in China, compared with a worldwide average of 10 per cent. Their expenditures also account for 13 per cent of their total household income, compared with 4 per cent in the US and UK.
The willingness and desire of young Chinese to spend their income and that of their families is playing an increasingly large role in driving China’s economic development, while outpacing the consumption habits of their peers in the West.
Young people are very concerned about their appearance and willing to spend 40 per cent or more of their income on cosmetics, aesthetic medicine and clothing.
They also enjoy spending on whisky, vodka and blind boxes of art toys. They love watching TV series and videos of Chinese ‘ancientry’ style and ACGN. But rarely talk about politics and the authorities, which are risky to discuss in public.
‘Huang’ became a contracted live-streaming host for a social platform in China in 2016 when the concept was still in its infancy.
Dressed in ancient clothing, Huang sings Chinese pop songs and chats with his fans. He needs to entice 240,000 people a month to watch at least a minute of his live stream so he can earn his base salary. On top of rewards from fans, his monthly pay ranges from 10,000 yuan (US$1,540) to 40,000 yuan. If he can attract more than 1 million fans on several Chinese live-streaming social media platforms, he could earn more than 100,000 yuan (US$15,000) a month through advertising and promoting brands online.
The number of Millennials (born 1980-95) and Generation Z has reached 386 million, accounting for 27 per cent of the population. Most do not have siblings, and their peers are more like competitors. Their affinity for the internet is much higher than that of their parents, making them eager for a sense of belonging.
According to “Gen Z White Paper” by Kantar and Tencent Holdings, 46 per cent of Generation Z think the goal of consumption is to seek identity recognition, with socialising, personal style and immediate pleasure their key motivators.
42% of Chinese born in the 1960s are willing to socialise with acquaintances, according to the survey, but the figure is only 33% among those born in the 2000s, as they take solace in consumption.
A survey released by OC&C Consultants showed that of 15,500 young people born in 1998 or later in nine countries – China, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Turkey and Brazil – China’s Generation Z saved less and spent a much higher proportion of their household income than in the Western world.
Compared with the generation born in the early stage of China’s reform and opening up, China’s youth have a stronger sense of identity with traditional culture and cultural nationalism, which has driven demand for domestic brands and products that incorporate Chinese traditional style and culture, a trend known as guochao that serves as an emotional outlet for self-expression.
Sales of hanfu, traditional garments worn hundreds of years ago, rose from 190 million yuan (US$30 million) in 2015 to 4.52 billion (US$696 million) in 2019, with half bought by Generation Z.
The group thinks property is the most reliable form of wealth. But the mortgage pressure in China’s first-tier cities is too huge. I feel I will not be happy for a lifetime if I buy one [flat] in Shenzhen. Except for living expenses and mortgage, there is no balance for eating, drinking and playing.” According to data from the People’s Bank of China at the end of June, the total credit card bills overdue for more than six months had soared to 85.4 billion yuan (US$13 billion), more than 10 times the level of 10 years ago. And around half of those who owe the debt were born in the 1990s.