Gen Z takes charge of festival agenda

China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-17

Print Print


Visitors gather at an event held by Alibaba's Tmall to promote Spring Festival products in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Sunday.  CHINA DAILY

Quest to build enduring memories, boost family ties drives shopping

The post-1995 generation has accounted for more than half of the consumers who have already purchased products for the upcoming Spring Festival holiday, and they are increasingly willing to prepare Lunar New Year's Eve dinners for family members, according to Taobao, Chinese tech heavyweight Alibaba Group's online marketplace.

The young demographic tends to buy fresh ingredients from e-commerce platforms, with sales of beef, mutton and shrimp surging 153 percent, 130 percent and 182 percent year-on-year, respectively, since December, Taobao said.

Zhang Peng, head of food and fresh produce industry at Alibaba's Taobao and Tmall Group, said young people's pursuit of a "sense of ritual" is forming a new consumption trend, and "new varieties" of family reunion dinners alongside more trans-regional cuisines will appear on dining tables this holiday.

For instance, people in Zhejiang province prefer to buy mutton from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, while those in southern provinces fancy seafood caught from Chagan Lake in Songyuan, Northeast China's Jilin province, Zhang said.

Young shoppers are more inclined to place orders while watching livestreaming sessions, which boost sales of agricultural products like oranges, cherries, tea, seasoned duck and nut gift boxes, Taobao said. In addition, other products, including liquor and red wine, are gaining popularity among the demographic.

Consumers who buy commodities for Lunar New Year via Alibaba's online Tmall Supermarket are able to enjoy half-day express delivery services in 20 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, the company said.

Industry insiders said China's young consumers, especially Gen Z — people born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s — grew up with the rise of the internet, instant messaging, smart devices and other digital technologies. What's more, they are well-educated, have developed distinct personalities and hobbies, and are capable of making their own choices.

China's younger shoppers are emerging as mainstream consumers and becoming the driving force behind the growth of livestreaming e-commerce, said Mo Daiqing, a senior analyst at domestic consultancy Internet Economy Institute.

Young Chinese shoppers, who have started stocking up ahead of the Lunar New Year, prefer trying something new and boast comparatively higher purchasing power, Mo said, adding that they have witnessed China's rapid economic development, which enables them to have a global perspective and willingness to embrace diversity.

Moreover, an increasing number of young people would rather spend money on experiences rather than the product itself, she added.

Hong Yong, an associate research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation's e-commerce research institute, said, "Spring Festival is the traditional festival that Chinese people attach the most importance to, and it's also a peak season for consumption."

Major Chinese online retailers have launched promotional events ahead of the weeklong Chinese New Year holiday to promote the recovery of the country's consumer market, Hong said, adding that these promotional campaigns will further unleash pent-up consumption demand and inject fresh impetus into China's immense consumer market.

China's consumption market has witnessed a recovery. In the January-November period, retail sales increased 7.2 percent year-on-year to 42.79 trillion yuan ($5.95 trillion), data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Moreover, online consumption remained a bright spot as online retail sales rose 11 percent to 13.96 trillion yuan on a yearly basis during the period.

As the Chinese consumer market gradually recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a critical time for brands and retailers to reshape strategies and strengthen market adaptability, according to a report from consultancy Bain & Co.

Retailers need to leverage data and technology to better understand consumer behavior, thus optimizing their product mix and promotional strategies, as well as balance the tasks of maintaining competitive pricing and focusing on product quality, product innovation, supply chains and sourcing, the report said.