What is special about the Chinese GenZ ?


Ifop and Dark Planning partnered to release GenZ, a study conducted in China, USA, France and UK, which provides unique insights about the first generation ever to live from birth to adulthood in a connected world.


Among many other topics, the study highlights a number of characteristics that are specific to the Z generation (from tier 1 & 2 cities) in China and sets them apart from their Western counterparts. So what makes the Chinese GenZ special?


  • The Chinese Z generation is the most positive about its current life and confident about the future. Living in a society that transforms at great pace and brings opportunities (to get high education, to travel, to earn good money…) that were not accessible to the same extent to the previous generations, today’s young Chinese have a more positive, confident view about their current life and the opportunities ahead than the GenZ in the US, France and UK.


  • It is also the most willing to spend. The Chinese GenZ has made consumption a core component of its lifestyle to the point that it shops (both online and offline) and goes out (to dine out, to the cinema, etc.) more frequently than the Western GenZ. The study shows that it has purchased more categories of luxury goods (ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, etc.) over the past 18 months and has paid higher prices to acquire these goods. This is indeed a high spending demographic.


  • Chinese GenZs are hyper-connected. Young Chinese watch more videos and play more games online than similar age groups in the West, they are also more likely to hit digital touchpoints such as beauty websites and brand ambassadors media before they make a purchase, and more willing to accept advertising on social media. Their very particular interest leads to a form of ambivalence: China is where technology is the most aspirational as 69% of Chinese GenZ “would like to work for a web giant” (GAFA, BATX..) vs less than 50% in the 3 other countries, but at the same time it generates greater worries as 40% feel “concerned” about the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in China vs 15% or less elsewhere.


  • Health and environment are major concerns. Growing up in a country going through heavy urbanization, constant air pollution and numerous food crisis has led to high concerns for health and environment among the Chinese youth. As a result attention to food safety, health and the environment are way higher in China than in the other countries and this translates into consumption habits as these are major product or service purchase selection criteria among Chinese GenZ.


  • Chinese GenZ are less assertive than Westerners. This is visible in their aspirations, which are less about “being different from others” than in other countries and in their approach to social media where they are less likely to post their own opinions and photos. It will influence the way they dress, make-up or react to communications.


  • They crave for unique experiences. As opposed to older generations of Chinese for whom visible signs of status and ownership were of prime importance, the Chinese GenZ is an age group driven by experience: 85% of them prefer “living a unique experience” to “owning an expensive item”, 59% “having fun” to “having money”. This makes travelling very attractive to them and drives a major shift in the way they approach consumption as of the 4 countries investigated China is the only one where a majority of GenZ (52%) finds “owning a niche brand, known by a limited few” more appealing than “owning a famous brand, that everybody knows”.


These differentiating characteristics of the Chinese Z generation obviously need to be taken into account by companies and brands wanting to break into the huge China GenZ market. They underline the need to design specific, targeted strategies – ones that are different from those addressing other generations in China, and also different from addressing the same age group across the world – to really resonate with the Chinese GenZ and drive performance.


Much more information is available about the Z generation in China and beyond, including their detailed relationship to Beauty and Luxury, in the full GenZ study. For more information and subscription, contact us.