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The rise of China’s Gen Z shoppers

Jun 23. 2019
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By Suwatchai Songwanich
CEO Bangkok Bank (China)

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Chinese consumers currently purchase more than one third of the world’s luxury goods. Recent forecasts predict growth in global sales of luxury products of 4–6 per cent, thanks in part to increasing demand in China where so-called Generation Z consumers are the driving force. 

Recent research from OC&C Strategy Consultants shows that spending by China’s Gen Z shoppers accounts for 15 per cent of a household’s income – the highest proportion of any country – much higher than their counterparts in the US and UK who spend about 4 per cent. 

Gen Z typically refers to people born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. In China, many of them are from one-child families with a greater disposable income and a taste for luxury. At the same time, they are tech-savvy and prefer to buy products directly online. About 70 per cent of China’s Gen Z buy products via social media. They are also willing to pay a premium for faster delivery, with 34 per cent wanting same-day delivery and 27 per cent preferring instant delivery, or within half a day. 

In addition, Gen Z consumers are data-rich and data-dependent. Of all China’s Gen Z consumers, 58 per cent increased their reliance on social media for making purchasing decisions in the past year, 40 per cent prefer to get information about products directly from a brand’s website, and 33 per cent like video livestreaming when it comes to bargain hunting. The most popular shopping and social media platforms in China are WeChat, Baidu and Tmall. 

As for Thailand, online shopping is also very common among Gen Z. A recent survey by the Electronic Transactions Development Agency shows Thailand’s Gen Y and Gen Z are the groups spending the most time online, an average of 10.2 hours a day. Thailand’s most popular social media platforms are YouTube, Line and Facebook. 

By 2020, Gen Z is expected to account for 40 per cent of China’s consumers. It is crucial for retailers to connect with this generation to ensure sustainable relationships. Gen Z consumers are highly dependent on their mobile phones for almost every aspect of their lives. As such, both new and established brands have to come up with effective digital and social media marketing strategies in order to engage this tech savvy generation for the long term. 

For more columns in this series please visit www.bangkokbank.com. 

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