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Chinese millennials embrace novelty

News, 13 June 2016

SHANGHAI: Inquisitiveness and a willingness to try out new experiences are at least a couple of the characteristics that differentiate Chinese millennials from their Western counterparts, according to a China-based branding consultant.

Julien Lapka, co-CEO of Flamingo Shanghai, an insights and brand consultancy, discussed China's post-90's generation – those born between 1990 and 1999 – with eMarketer and said this generation is open to experimenting with new goods and services coming onto the market.

He suggested that is because these young Chinese consumers, the second generation to have grown up under China's one child policy, have only ever known a country "constantly in flux" and that has shaped their perceptions of the world around them.

"Partially because [the market] used to have very limited sets of goods and services, you're obviously quite curious to see all of these new brands, products and lifestyles that are coming into the country," he said.

"The mindset that has developed is that newness is exciting. Newness means that you are progressing. That's really making people take chances and crave new things. And that kind of mindset is not found in the West."

Lapka also observed that China's post-90's generation is more trusting of larger, mainstream brands and he attributed some of this outlook to the more limited media landscape than is found in the West.

A greater willingness to adopt new technology is another characteristic of this generation, he said, noting that Chinese Facebook users, for example, are keen to learn about different ways of doing things rather than using their "friends" to reinforce their own opinions.

"The way that people in China interact with things is they look at a much broader set of information, and then make their own sense out of it," Lapka said.

"Digital tends to act much more as a journey of discovery, where people are actually very willing to tap into and follow a set of brands and organisations that actually offer different points of views."

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff