With more than 320 million individuals, Chinese Gen Z already constitutes around 22% of China’s total population according to a recent study by Questmobile, and represents the next engine of domestic consumption growth. Due to these numbers, understanding their behaviours and interests is key for all international brands willing to take a move on the Chinese market.
The analysts at CBNData, a data research firm based in Beijing, have identified 4 major trends in consumers spending between 2020 and 2021:
- Manga and Anime
Young consumers around the world have a passion for manga, anime and videogames, that is no big deal. However, Chinese consumers seem to be very fond of gadgets related to their favourite manga or anime series, which they purchase in great amounts. Action figures and models are mostly prized by young women, who occupy more than 60% of the market, mostly students from first and second tier cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. Bilibili
What can we learn from this? The AMCG community in China is too big to be ignored. Channels such as Douyu and Bilibili, two video sharing platforms similar to Youtube, are moving huge numbers of followers who are always looking for entertainment. International companies interested in touching these consumer group should pay a closer look to these channels when designing their marketing strategy.
- Guochao and Chinese Style
Guochao, literally “Chinese Fad”, is a complex social phenomenon closely related to the “being Chinese” identity and involves different social habits, tendencies and industries, from traditional apparels to Chinese food, from China-developed videogames to national beauty brands. Young Chinese take pride on their country’s history, culture and tradition and like to buy what they can use to show or represent such values. This can also be seen in their strong support of national brands, especially related to the beauty industry.
What can we learn from this? Chinese Gen Zers seem to have found the right balance between modern lifestyles and traditional Chinese cultural values. They are a unique consumer group that needs a different approach. For this reason, brands must establish a unique proposition that may appeal to these users, supporting it with customized messaging to create customer loyalty and foster retention.
- Fan Apps
Social media and fandom are big in China. Younger generations now love to engage with their idols, singers and influencers (they call them KOLs there) through apps carefully designed around the concept of “fan base”. These apps enable Chinese consumers to directly support their beloved idols with a monthly fee giving them access to VIP functions, much like Patreon here, as well as purchase merchandise and interact with the communities of fans sprouted around influencers. These digital communities are mostly composed of students but are characterized by a high stickiness and willingness to purchase branded merchandize sponsored by their idols.
What can we learn from this? Apps are growing in number in the Chinese digital ecosystem, and young Chinese seem to be more than willing to subscribe and use them frequently if they can add value to their internet experience. These channels are the best way to engage with this target consumer, as well as partnerships with influencers.
- Shoes, shoes, shoes
Chinese Gen Zers want to stand out. They like trying new products much more than previous generations and buy shoes can better represent them among their peers. Their obsession for shoes has been nurtured in the last few years by marketplaces specific to this kind of apparel, such as Nice and Shihuo. With a user base of mostly male consumers, these apps have seen the rise of female shoppers: young woman willing to express their identity through shoes has boosted purchase rate on these channels, with more than 50% of these young users purchasing 3 to 4 pairs of shoes a year.
What can we learn from this? Chinese Gen Zers tend to be impulsive consumers and they are not squeamish about outspending their budgets. According to a survey published by McKinsey, young Chinese consumers are more optimistic than previous generations, making them more willing to take on loans and spend on luxury products. At the same time, this consumer group’s purchasing journey is fully omnichannel, making the integration of offline services with social media and apps a vial method for international brands to market their products.
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