How do generation Y and Z live and “consume” in China?

Generations Y; millennials, or those born between 1980 and 1994 and Z; born between 1995 and 2009 make up 40% of the Chinese population and mostly live in cities.

They live in a very different socio-economic context to their parents, with access to immense opportunities generated by the strong development that the country has seen over the past few decades.

They are characterized above all by;

  • A strong connection with their smart phones
  • A willingness to pay more for quality products
  • Pride in national brands
  • An interest in researching high-level products for infants and pets
  • A willingness to pay for personal entertainment activities

Reorganizing these characteristics into three dominant themes, we can identify them as follows;

  1. Pervasive digital convenience in terms of smartphones, “influencers”, comfort and home
  2. Purchasing preferences; ‘premiumization’, large vs. medium cities and ‘Made in China’
  3. Modern urban life; pets as family members, “modern” parenting and personal entertainment

This information is of considerable relevance to any company interested in doing business in China, particularly if they want to target these two markets.


Following the three dominant themes, eight trends can be identified that will mark the consumption behavior of generations Y & Z over the next few years;

  1. Pervasive digital convenience:
    1. The apps on their smartphones are so critical for Y & Z that they would find it difficult to live without them in their daily lives. Convenience in communications, shopping, entertainment and transportation will only increase.
    1. Influencers are an increasingly essential force in the search for products by consumers and, therefore, in the marketing of brands.
    1. The combination of mobile technology and home delivery of all types of products has significantly increased comfort in consumer households and is a major factor of interest for manufacturers of consumer goods and food and beverage products.
  2. Shopping Preferences:
    1. Urban consumers are, in general, looking for higher quality products, even if they come with a premium price. But the interest in items of greater sophistication by buyers in larger cities stands out.
    1. Growing awareness of Chinese pride has created, and continues to create, great opportunities for national brands. Technology offers new developments and more attractive designs, while traditional manufacturers exploit nostalgia by reinventing their brands to attract a younger clientele.
  3. Modern urban life:
    1. According to a recent survey, more than 70% of the Chinese population see their pets as a member of the family, and this trend has created immense market opportunities.
    1. Parents in China continue to be very aware of the safety and well-being of their babies by purchasing high-quality products and, in general, invest economically in these resources.
    1. Furthermore, the rise in single person households has created another specific trend including the rise of personal entertainment.

Without a doubt, most of these trends offer significant introduction and growth opportunities for many international companies when considering entering the Chinese market.

Source: Euromonitor International