5 facts about the spending and social habits of China’s post-00s generation

This article was written by Yiling Pan and originally published in Jing Daily

A group of people share Boxed Waters over a kitchen table

In 2018, the first of China’s 147 million citizens born after the year 2000 reached adulthood. A new report co-released by Tencent Social Ads and the Customer Research & User Experience Design Center (or CDC) found that the demographic has triple the savings of the post-90s generation, indicating a higher purchasing power and financial autonomy. Their ability to spend comes from their parents and family, and their tastes are more influenced by greater opportunities to travel abroad than any generation of youths before.

The report, which included a survey of 15,000 post-00s and in-depth interviews with 24 of them, also found that they grew up in a significantly wealthier and more digitally developed world than those born between 1995 and 1999. The social media apps the post-00s generation use also differ, as illustrated by the image below.

The post-00s generation is poised to dominate every industry and change the landscape of luxury retail and marketing. The report points out five distinct spending habits of the post-00s generation that offers insights for brands and retailers on how to reach them.

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1. They admire people and brands that are dedicated and faithful 

Nearly two-thirds of the young respondents surveyed said they “make decisions on their own”. They identify their interests and hobbies early and know how to use online resources to deepen their knowledge of a specific field. Seventy-two per cent of them said showing an in-depth understanding of a certain field is a much better means of self-expression than consumption or career growth.

This departure from more naked materialism makes brands and individuals who demonstrate a commitment to deeper values more appealing to post-00s consumers. Sixty per cent of them like brands that show unique insights and 92 per cent believe their idols should be truthful to their interests.

2. They do not consume beyond their capability

The post-00s generation was found to be realistic and mature with regards to their finances. As their parents usually give them enough money to spend and are transparent with them about what they can afford, they have a clear understanding of their economic power. Eighty-four per cent of surveyed respondents said they would not purchase items that are beyond their capability. If they really need to buy items they cannot afford, they will first try to find a solution by themselves, for instance by working part-time to earn money.

3. They care less about Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)

Equality is highly important for China’s post-00s generation, the report said. That has led them to care much less about what authorities and experts say compared to previous generations. This distinct behaviour has implications for influencer marketing in China. Only 16 per cent of surveyed respondents indicated they trust KOLs when they recommend products. Most believed content produced by KOLs is motivated by commercial interests, making it less trustworthy. Contrary to the notion that they care less about authority figures, the report found that post-00s were more willing to look to Chinese celebrities for product recommendations. Yang Mi, Wang Yuan, and William Chan are the top three celebrities this generation likes.

4. They use content as a social lubricant

As only children, post-00s are especially eager to connect with their peers. The report noted that 75 per cent of them wanted to spend more time with their friends, while 66 per cent said they would show respect to friends even if they had different points of view.

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This quality of inclusion has affected their social media consumption, the report argued. The post-00s generation hopes to engage with their peers on social media platforms, and sharing content is the means they use to do so. Sixty per cent of survey respondents said they would use content as a way to trigger friends’ response, even more than the 50 per cent who use content to express themselves.

5. They see no difference between home-grown and foreign brands

Brand origin is not a big factor determining the post-00s generation’s shopping decisions, the report revealed. Supporting Chinese domestic brands is a way for this group to show their support for the country. More than half of surveyed respondents said being foreign or Western does not necessarily encourage them to buy a brand’s products.

When targeting the post-00s generation in China, brands and retailers need to:

Craft brand stories about dedication and faith

Reconsider the role of KOL marketing

Place greater emphasis on content in their online marketing

Take into consideration the demographic’s pride and interest in Chinese heritage

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