China’s young consumers

In China, there’s a generation gap, every three years, they say.

Having spent the weekend to reacquaint myself with Shanghai’s retail scene, it struck me how young most shoppers are. Especially compared to my latest experiences in the Netherlands and Germany.

Although it hit me, it did NOT come as a surprise. In China, younger generations are the main drivers of commerce.

Why? They are the cohorts for who retail, shopping or simply being a consumer has come naturally. They grew up in a time that commerce started and expanded. Entire categories launched and their families could afford to spend that extra bit of money. Their parents never had that luxury as they grew up in significant hardship and are still driven by a conservative attitude towards spending hard earned or saved cash.

The younger generation also grew up in an era of massively expanding digital commerce with the (global) world of commerce on the screens of their mobile devices. And with omnichannel and enticing CRM offers well developed, shopping has become more than a hobby.

Millennials, Gen-Z, or even post 2000, unless you have a real reason not to target these generations, any brand that does not have this group firmly in their sights, needs to review and revise their marketing planning.

In the Harvard Business Review article that I am reposting here, Zak Dychtwald gives a good overview of what makes the younger generations in China so different. Not just compared to their parents, but – even more importantly for foreign business operators wanting to be successful in China – how they differ from their counterparts in other corners of the globe.