Several studies of Generation Z consumers have indicated they are more optimistic, politically aware and socially inclusive than their elders – and these attitudes are confirmed in a new report covering nine markets in Asia-Pacific.

Conducted by the analytics division of Wunderman Thompson, the global digital agency, the “Generation Z: APAC” study is based on data from 4,500 consumers aged 13 to 23 in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Among the key findings, Wunderman Thompson Intelligence reported that three-quarters (74%) of Gen Z consumers in the region expect to be better off than their parents’ generation.

China’s Gen Z are the most optimistic (94%) about becoming better off, followed by Gen Z’s in Indonesia (91%), Thailand (88%), Vietnam (84%), the Philippines (78%), Singapore (74%), Hong Kong (71%) and Taiwan (60%), although such optimism plunges in Japan to just 28%.

Across the region, Gen Z consumers appear to be progressive in their outlook, with 8 out of 10 saying that gender does not define a person as much as it used to, while 75% say they would date outside their race. More than half (56%) also report that they are trying to eat less meat than in the past.

Turning to their shopping and digital habits, the report found that 76% say they are as comfortable purchasing online as offline, rising to 88% in China, although 62% overall say they still prefer to make purchases in a physical store.

Another 76% say they use their smartphones many times a day, although 89% say they think carefully about what they post online, and a similar proportion (87%) believe their peers spend too much time on their digital devices.

Elsewhere, and perhaps connected with the headline finding about their optimism for the future, 88% of Gen Z consumers say it is important to start making financial savings now. However, 85% would like there to be more education about financial literacy.

Wunderman Thompson also asked them about their role models, or “personal heroes”, and it emerged young people in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are most likely to pick celebrities – although Chinese Gen Z consumers also cite entrepreneurs, scientists and politicians.

Meanwhile, those in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam are most likely to pick family members, followed by teachers.

Sourced from Wunderman Thompson Intelligence; additional content by WARC staff