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09 December 2021
China's middle class feels growing pains
Middle-class consumersGreater China
Younger generations, used to seeing their parents’ wealth and prospects increase year on year are feeling the effects of slowing growth, a new reality that’s likely to have significant cultural and societal implications.
Why it matters
Middle class angst has long been a culturally potent aspect of industrialised western countries, and for their younger generations it’s as much about culture as it is about economic reality.
This is all quite new in China, by contrast. But rocketing prices, especially of homes, have a significant cultural impact as ownership is extremely important for marriage prospects. A shift here will have a big impact on how advertising is planned and created.
Despite the breath-taking growth of the Chinese middle class in the last 20 years from 3% of the population to more than half, the cost of housing relative to wages means that younger generations can’t guarantee they will be better off than their parents – like their counterparts in the US.
The solutions to these issues cannot be solved by the private sector alone but understanding some of these dynamics will be crucial as society adapts.
For some, the demands and pressures have already reached their peak, and with little hope of reprieve have instead chosen to ‘lie flat’ rather than burn themselves out in the 9-9-6 culture (working 9am-9pm, six days a week).
But it’s not just China that’s feeling this. Lying flat has caught the imaginations of disaffected millennials and Gen-Z around the world to become one of the country’s most globally influential cultural exports in 2021.
Sourced from SCMP, New York Times, The Conversation, Insider, Quartz