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Brands must heed China's Gen-Z

News, 10 March 2016

SHANGHAI: Global brands will need to give serious thought into how to engage with China's Generation Z after a new report found almost 95% of these young consumers believe it is essential for brands to be sustainable and environmentally conscious.

China's Gen-Z – defined as those born between the mid-1990s to the 2010s – has markedly different attitudes from previous generations, who remain more likely to regard luxury items as status symbols.

Instead, China's Gen-Z consumers are more like their counterparts in the West with their emphasis on social conscience and alternative definitions of success, according to Shanghai-based RTG Consulting Group.

"We have noticed that the meaning of success is being redefined where career and financial achievement are no longer the main drivers," said Marc-Olivier Arnold, head of research and business consulting at RTG Consulting Group, in comments to Luxury Daily.

"Our research shows that more than 62% of Gen Z already believe that 'success no longer means financial wealth'; instead, there is an emerging shift in mindset where it is more about how you live your life that matters."

He went on to say that two-thirds of this generation, the first born in a fully modern China, emphasise that they expect brands today to build "genuine human connections".

"Hence, it is evident that luxury will no longer be defined by superior material goods, but instead experiences that empower this generation in their pursuit for self-expression and elevation," Arnold said.

And in a further finding of note to marketers, RTG's survey of 1,000 young Chinese revealed that 72% have no objection to same-sex marriage – a statistic that may influence future marketing campaigns.

Less surprising is the finding that almost two-thirds (64.7%) of this generation spend significantly more time interacting online with their closest friends than they do offline.

"As digital natives, China's Gen Z currently lives and breathes mobile, and so [a brand's] approach must be inherently mobile, with the goal of becoming part of their digital lifestyle," Arnold said. "This means offering engaging, meaningful and inspiring creative content as well as distinct experiences."

Data sourced from RTG Consulting Group, Luxury Daily; additional content by Warc staff