Raised in an era of digital breakthroughs, social clicks, and instant gratification, China’s Gen-Z is spending carefree compared to their international peers. This group has a greater sense of identity and a unique concept of consumption that differs from Chinese Millennials. Born in 1995 or after, they are projected to be 2.56 billion strong and account for 40% of the global Gen-Z purchases by 2020. By having endless access to information and digital resources, they have become more educated and knowledgeable in deciding which products and services to purchase or brands to follow.
Gen-Z is very comfortable with collecting and cross-referencing a wide range of information. With a larger percentage of disposable income, they are more demanding and self-aware. Their spending power is unquestionable, and brands need to understand their unique needs and how they are shaping the future of what it means to market.
Brands Need to Invest in Micro Influencers
Chinese millennials and Gen-Z consumers respond positively to personalized service and have grown to expect it as an essential part of their shopping experience. They expect brands to provide them with direct service. Micro influencers offer a niche and unique point of view that connects well with Gen-Z consumers. The most trustworthy source of reviews, information and product recommendations are micro-influencers, who are small enough to have an authentic following, and big enough to have the desired consumer reach that brands want.
Micro influencers leverage authenticity and engage heavily with their followers, which is one of the main reasons as to why they resonate so well with Gen-Z. Micro influencers take pride in product credibility and their followers have a much deeper understanding of who they are as a person. From this perspective, followers are much more willing to buy products endorsed by them. Brands that invest in these types of influencers during their initial campaign strategy are more likely to receive a higher return on investment. Micro influencers are much cheaper in comparison to well-known influencers when it comes to brand collaborations. Platforms like RED and TikTok (Douyin) are making it super accessible for micro influencers to grow their audience while creating a viral effect.
Embrace New Retail O2O Marketing
Retail in China is advancing at a more rapid pace and in more technologically advanced ways than in the West. Stores are becoming increasingly more a blend of online to offline and have no cashiers or checkout lines. It’s important for brands to realize that online and offline shopping are deeply integrated in the purchasing habits of young Chinese consumers. They enjoy making in-store purchases but often rely on social media reviews to research products.
Contrary to popular belief, Gen-Z consumers are not impulsive shoppers when it comes to making a purchase decision. They enjoy and take pleasure in the entire customer journey. They usually research and discovery new product inspiration online. After they find a product that they like, they will visit the physical store to examine it before deciding whether or not to buy. Even though the digital experience is a huge part of the shopping process, brick-and-mortar shops are irreplaceable. Pop-up retailing is also experiencing explosive growth and can be great for increasing brand awareness at a low cost.
Be Creative with Short Videos & Livestreaming
Short-form video apps have been around since early this decade in China, but their popularity has skyrocketed the past three years on the back of this new segment of consumers. Brands are starting to turn to smaller platforms like Douyin, Meipai and Toutiao for broadcasting and livestreaming campaigns that specifically target Gen-Z. This type of marketing content offers a brand value in a way that no other type of content can.
Douyin has around 500 million monthly active users with 70% of those users being under the age of 24. This app provides a unique access to the behaviors and interest of young consumers to help brands adjust quickly to the most up-to-date trends. Douyin has also moved into the social commerce sphere by linking Taobao to the platform, which is the most common way Douyin KOLs sell products. Now users with over 8,000 followers and more than 10 posts can apply for the shopping cart function and embed product links into videos. Brands can create campaigns that include banners on the homepage, a promoted challenge hashtag, or a custom video editing filter to get followers more engaged with their service.
To fully engage and leverage China’s Gen-Z, brands must understand their purchasing habits as well as share more to connect with this generation. China’s Gen-Z consumers are digital and social media shopping-savvy. They are one of the most important Chinese generations to target, but their needs and preferences can instantly change. Brands must keep a close eye on this age group in order to truly stay connected with their purchasing habits while being on top of the latest marketing trends.