Our survey of Chinese consumers indicates that both long-term trends (technology evolution, urbanization, inter-generational shifts) and short-term pandemic shocks have changed their values—and spending patterns. They have developed global, multidimensional perspectives, shifting their focus from instant gratification to long-term happiness and value.
Chinese people’s top 3 priorities: Family, health, and career
While the belief in hard work remains strong, the pandemic has prompted people to rethink their priorities. Career ranks a distant third among the things valued by the respondents, behind the top priorities of family and health. We have a good reason to believe that the emphasis on family and health will profoundly affect people’s consumption decisions for a long time to come.
The Draw of Megacities
China’s large scale urbanization has dramatically increased the country’s consumption, but even more growth remains on the horizon. Our survey findings showed that nearly 70% of the respondents’ ideal settlement cities are located in five major urban clusters: the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Rim, the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, the Chengdu-Chongqing cluster, and the middle reaches of the Yangtze River
Our research suggests that Chinese people are not only striving for a better life, but also redefining what “a better life” means to them. Their choices about where to live reflect a yearning for more growth opportunities, public resources and diverse lifestyles. As regional development and technological advancements continue, urban clusters will provide even more satisfying urban functions, higher level public services and comprehensive competitiveness in economic, cultural, environmental and policy terms. People living in urban areas will be able to access more material things as well as a more satisfying cultural life, thereby releasing even more consumption potential.
We explore how the Chinese consumers are evolving and how companies need to respond with five themes:
In China, the needs of family members are especially important when it comes to deciding on major purchases that will affect the whole household, such as cars or home appliances.
Less is more
By comparing and researching products, Chinese consumers are now emphasizing the sense of meaning and originality those products bestow.
Master of time
Chinese people are now spending their spare time in various ways—with family, exercising, exploring the world—one thing is clear: They cherish their leisure time.
Tech for good
People assess the value of technologies along multiple dimensions—not only in terms of the convenience they bring about, but also in terms of the human-centric experience they deliver.
Environmental protection is now “cool” and fashionable, and people are willing to devote energy and money to fulfill their sustainability promises.
Unlocking the potential of China’s maturing consumers
We believe three mindsets will set companies on the right course to capture China’s consumption potential:
Be purpose-led Think about the mission and values of your company from a macro perspective and develop socially responsible strategies and implementation plans.
Accelerate innovation Gain insights into people’s inner desires and quickly adapt to their ever-changing preferences. This means learning from consumers and using those insights to constantly innovate your customers’ experiences.
Provide multi-dimensional value Help people solve their problems and strive to make the lives of consumers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders better.