In China, youths are shunning extravagance for rational consumption

In China, youths are shunning extravagance for rational consumption

Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Pinduoduo Content Team
May 5, 2020

The children born in China between 2000 and 2010 have been called many things: spoiled, entitled, “Little Emperors” — backhanded nods to the fortunes of a generation that has only known rapid economic growth and rising affluence.

But instead of extravagance, a study by China Youth Daily and e-commerce giant Pinduoduo (PDD) has painted a different picture of this cohort, whose oldest members turn 20 this year. The report looked at the shopping habits during 2019 of more than 57 million youth on PDD’s platform that were born after 2000, and livestreaming insights from February and March.

Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

The study found that these so-called “post-2000ers” have a strong sense of family responsibility, appreciate getting value for their money, and are expressive and happy to interact and share their experiences online. And contrary to popular perception, they are believers in “rational consumption”, buying only what they need and making the most of their limited budget, not least because most are still studying and being supported by their parents.

Businesses and marketers will have to take into account the motivations and consumption habits of this generation as they enter the workforce over the next decade and become a key driving force for the economy.

More than 90% have bought things on the platform through team purchases, which encourage users to form groups of two or more to obtain a lower price. The study also found that they spend the most on smartphones, beauty products, snacks, apparel and sporting equipment. The time periods when they are most active on PDD’s platform are during noon to 2 p.m., when buying intent is highest, and from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., when they are more likely to just browse the app for fun.

A college freshman showed off his extreme makeover of his dormitory using things bought from PDD, all of which came up to less than $15.

According to the study, post-2000ers are also more likely to do comparison shopping, and wait for sales promotions, before placing their orders. Growing up in an era where mobile internet is “always on”, this generation is also more likely to share their own reviews of purchases with friends. As seen on the app, more than 90% have invited friends to join team purchases or bought items that were recommended by their contacts.

Female users in this age group are likely to shop together online, while male users like to buy what others have recommended. More than 90% of users in this category, both male and female, have helped their friends complete tasks in return for rewards, or invited others to help them finish tasks.

With schools closed to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, this group of mostly teenagers are also spending more time at home with parents, helping the family buy essentials online, such as personal protective equipment (PPE). During the period February to March, when China experienced the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, 77.1% of post-2000ers placed orders for protective gear on PDD, while 97.4% searched for, saved, or followed PPE or related merchants and products.