Market to China’s Gen Z? The top 5 consumer trends to watch out for in 2022

Ready or not, marketers in China have kick-started a new race of marketing with events including Lunar New Year and the recently-concluded Beijing Winter Olympics being the key dates in the marketing calendar so far. With one marketing season fast moving into another in the new year, what are the priorities that marketers should focus on?

The team at Dao Insights has selected 5 key consumer trends in China for 2022 to help brands market with confidence, in a future rife with the uncertainty following a prolonged pandemic and fast-evolving consumer market.  

Second-hand market scales up

China’s reselling market continues to gain traction after another year where consumers have appeared to be more conservative when it comes to consumption, according to the latest China Monitor Report. The growing consumer rationale is due partly to the lingering impacts of the pandemic on the country’s economy, which resulted in dwindled personal income. In the meantime, consumers are becoming more environmentally aware in response to the continuous government call for a green economy and recycling policies.

Such change in consumer behaviour has driven the sales of second-hand products ranging from home appliances, fashion and accessories, furniture, and books. The luxury resale market alone has been experiencing a massive boom. Moreover, as traditional online resale markets such as Xianyu sees rapid growth, digital platforms under tech giants like Taobao and Kuaishou have also been doubling down their efforts in building up their marketplaces for second-hand products.

Interest-based consumption

The young generation of Chinese consumers are more willing to pay for their hobbies and, therefore, understanding where their interests lie is the ticket to winning over the Gen Z crowd. An average of 85% of China’s Gen Z agreed that it is important for them to get involved in a community where they can share what they like, as the report shows.

The growing importance of interest-based socialising has allowed marketers to penetrate these young people in a way that they are more likely to engage in and provides opportunities for marketers to create online communities to foster their relationship with the target audience. On top of that, brands can also enhance their understanding of the young generations of consumers.

High-tech products become highly sought after

The emerging buzzword of Metaverse in 2021 seems to have spurred Chinese consumers to embrace high-tech-oriented products. It is reported by the fourth quarter of last year, 82% of the middle-class showed their willingness to pay for goods and services that incorporated new or updated technology. The figure amongst Gen Z, on the other hand, climbed up to 73% by Q4 2021, from 65% in Q2, showing the mounting interest in these young consumers and products with advanced technology.

Offline experience remains vital

Although the digital space seems to have been the main battleground for marketing, brands should never overlook the importance of offering offline experiences. While the gradual recovery from the pandemic has allowed the offline experience to regain its ground in marketing, China’s young consumers’ demand for a rich and entertaining shopping experience has also contributed to the trend.

To cater to the diverse needs of China’s Gen Z, many brands have been turning their storefronts into a space for immersive experiences including sports activities, video games, and nature adventure. These interactive events not only elaborate the physical ambiance but also strengthen the link between brands and their target consumers.

Embrace nature

China’s Gen Z are becoming more health-conscious amid the global health crisis and more of them believe that nature is the best cure for a locked-down life, driving the growth of China’s outdoor activities market. While winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are the latest hypes thanks to the Winter Olympics, camping has been another popular outdoor activity that has been drawing in many young Chinese. With this trend continuing to be on the rise, the market potential remains a huge opportunity for brands to tap into.


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