SHANGHAI: The motivations of China’s affluent consumers – mostly aged in their 30s and 40s – are changing as more people seek to live a more balanced life, according to an expert in Chinese consumer psychology.

According to Tom Doctoroff, Global Cultural Insights Officer at Prophet, traditional motivations in China to “project professional success” are taking a backseat to the desire of Chinese consumers to manage multi-dimensional roles in their lives, including broadening their horizons and becoming more of a “new generation individualist”.

“China’s upper middle class invests in ‘experiences’ to provide a broad worldview,” he explained in an article in Ad Age.

“From sharpening expertise in health and wellness to exploring different cultures and cultivating a broad range of personal hobbies, projecting a multi-faceted identity defines success. Wide horizons are a weapon on the battlefield of life,” he stated.

With so many competing interests and priorities, Chinese consumers are struggling to balance all of the demands on them. It’s in addressing this issues, Doctoroff advises, that marketers can be most relevant to today’s consumer in China.

One such example is re-evaluation the concept of professional success – a strong motivator in China – to include better work-life balance and more time with family.

Doctoroff noted campaigns by mobile phone giant Huawei and Jiangling Motors as examples of brands putting their products at the centre of a relatively new social phenomenon in China: a focus on emotional bonding in families and fathers spending more time with their children.

Likewise, China’s booming wellness trend offers exciting opportunities for brands to capitalize, even those not specifically associated with an active lifestyle such as the Westin group of hotels, which Doctoroff cited as one brand getting it right with its marathon sponsorship and yoga classes.

“In China, the benefits of new healthy lifestyles – maintaining a daily fitness routine, balanced nutrition, yoga – are means to an end,” he said. “They result in an ‘aura’, a noticeable glow that energizes careers, strengthens relationships and fuels self-possession.”

Doctoroff has previously spoken of the distinctive worldview of the Chinese and of how the individual does not exist independently of their obligations and responsibilities. In this environment, brands “need to be a means to an end”. (For more, read WARC’s report: Three golden rules to crack China’s consumer culture.)

Sourced from Ad Age; additional content by WARC staff