Chinese millennials, numbering more than 400 million, are a force to be reckoned with. While many have recognized them as ultra-connected consumers, few have realized that this has been caused by their place in history as the only-child generation. This alone sets them apart from other millennials in a most fundamental way.
The one-child generation
Chinese millennials, aged 19 to 35, were all born during the “One-Child Policy” period. These “little emperors” and “little empresses,” as they are often known because of their singular importance within a family unit, were at the center of their universe when they grew up. They are privileged, entitled and enjoy a good life.
A privileged generation
They are a privileged generation who benefited significantly from the economic reforms and opening. They also have advantages compared with their western counterparts: many don’t have student loan debt or housing expenses because their parents or grandparents have taken care of those expenses. So doing, it’s no surprise that they are free spenders
An entitled generation
Because Chinese millennials are only children in their families, they are often the center of attention. Their parents and grandparents want to give them the best and are eager to satisfy their every wishes.
This kind of upbringing makes them feel entitled. Some have an inflated sense of self. As consumers, they are extremely demanding. They want good products and services, and they want them fast.
A connected generation
Chinese millennials grew up with the internet and social media. But because they were only children and didn’t have siblings to play with, they turned to the internet as a medium for socializing and entertainment. That’s why they are extremely active on social media such as Weibo and WeChat, much more so than their western counterparts
Chinese millennials have many facets. They can be narcissistic and socially conscious at the same time. They are both nationalistic and westernized. They are more individualistic than older generations, but they also yearn for recognition and yield to conformity. As a consumer group, they are very promising. They will affect the future of retail in a most profound way.