Six Things You May Not Know about Chinese Millennials

Millennials around the world are disrupting the way we do things from shopping to travelling and even working. Growing up during a period of high-paced economic growth and prosperity, China’s millennials tend to be more affluent, tech and digitally savvy, and open to new experiences. Dubbed by Forbes1 as the next generation of “super consumers,” here are six things you may not know about millennials in China:

  1. There are a lot of them.
    We do mean a lot – China currently has about 400 million millennials, compared to 80 million in the United States2. They are one of the largest emerging consumer groups in China, and a group this size will inevitably have an impact on the economy. Getting to know and understand them is key.

  2. They are savvy, digital natives.
    More than 90% of millennials in China own a smartphone3. Used for almost every situation imaginable, from sharing their life’s moments on WeChat to paying for bills via Alipay or WeChat Pay, their phones also let Chinese millennials share pictures and short videos at any time. In July 2018, popular social media app Douyin (otherwise known as TikTok and similar to YouTube) surpassed 300 million monthly active users (MAU) in China, with 500 million MAU in all markets globally4.

  3. They are cashless.
    Millennials are spearheading the transition to cashless mobile payments in China, fueling the rapid growth of the domestic fintech industry5. During the 2017 Alibaba Singles Day shopping festival, approximately 1.48 billion payments were processed through Alipay, with 90% of transactions completed via mobile phones6. No more queues at the ATM.

  4. They are driving demand for luxury goods and consumer electronics.
    Millennials in China love their luxury brands. A report released by Boston Consulting Group and Tencent in September 2018 observed that Chinese customers are expected to account for 40% of global luxury goods sales by 2024, with those aged 18 to 30 accounting for 58% of luxury goods buyers7.

    And they want more electronics too. Apple reported US$9.5 billion in revenue from Greater China during its third quarter in 2018, a 19% year-over-year increase8.

  5. They are entrepreneurial.
    According to JWT Intelligence, 74% of Chinese millennials would start their own business if they had trouble finding a job and 93% agreed with the statement “Technology has put so many professional and entrepreneurial opportunities in front of me.”9

  6. They are heading abroad for higher education.
    Many Chinese millennials are looking to international institutions to further their education. Around 544,500 Chinese students studied abroad in 2016, more than triple the 179,800 that sought out education overseas in 200810. Top destinations for Chinese students include the U.S., U.K., and Australia, with the U.K. the top spot for those looking to earn a master’s degree in 201511.