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Rhythm Millennials Kids no More

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More than 230 million “millennials” in China—or about 17% of the total population—are undergoing the biggest change of their young lives: becoming adults. Hundreds of millions of young Chinese from the 90s generation are getting older, becoming more mature and shifting their perspectives from self-focused to society-focused.

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Rhythm Millennials Kids no More

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  2. 2. 2 FOREWORD Jeanette Phang Business Director – Business Intelligence, OMD CHINA There is perhaps no other generation more maligned than millennials. In China, those born between the years of 1990 and 2000 are regarded as self-absorbed children who plague the world with their 45-degree angled selfies. Our insistence in viewing this particular generation as spoilt digital obsessives blind us to their real characteristics. Far from the petulant youths we seem to imagine them as millennials are no longer children—even the very youngest of them are reaching maturity. With a population of 230 million or 17% of China entering the workforce and starting to buy major purchases, it is important to get to the bottom of how they think, live and feel. They are a generation unburdened by China’s impoverished past; their hallmark self-confidence and individualism is a reflection of this. With no worries about fulfilling their basic needs, they have instead focused on what it means to be individuals. This is not to say their lives are unmarred by difficulty. Faced with problems like corruption, pollution, food security and an economy that has slowed, millennials are all too aware that beneath the shiny surface complications exist. Confronted with compounding pressure from mounting competition, parental expectations and societal challenges, many millennials have turned to concentrating on the pleasures of now. They have learned to cope with these issues in other means: their sense of humor and wry commentary on social media show their ability to adapt and take things on the chin. Contrary to perception, this generation is not one that is only focused on self. What we found was that millennials were acutely aware of their societal influence. From minimizing their environmental impact to donating to disaster funds, shunning celebrities and brands that do not live up to their moral compass—millennials believe in their power to change the world. By delving deep into the psyche of millennials, we hope to provide a different perspective on how marketers can connect with them. From offering a unique brand perspective to ensuring authenticity, its time we treat them like the multifaceted adults that they have become.
  3. 3. In China, millennials are people born between 1990 and 1999 3
  4. 4. Society views them as narcissistic wunderkinds; We want to know the real 90s VOID SELFISHBRAIN-DEAD UNRELIABLEREBELLIOUS DIVERSE CREATIVE MOTIVATED CHILDISH EGOLAZY PRAGMATISM KIND RATIONAL WORLDLY PESSIMISTIC OTAKU INTERNET FASHION INDEPENDENT COOL SENSITIVE LONELY EARLY-MATURING CAREFREE DECADENT BRAVE GOSSIP NAIVEE CUTE FUJOSHI OPEN EMOTIONAL ROMANTIC PESSIMISTIC ALONE HUMOUROUS SMART CONFUSED FRAIL GLOBAL 4
  5. 5. They are no longer children 17% of China’s total population 90s 80s 70s 230m 202m 246m Age 17-26 Age 27-36 Age 37-46 1 in 6 people are millennials (90s) 5 Source: China Population Census
  6. 6. When they were born, China was socially stable and the economy was booming • Planned economy shifted to market economy • Government was no longer responsible for planned jobs • Parents had to look for jobs to raise families and be more devoted to work • More business opportunities 980 1,660 2,920 5,840 9,240 14,200 90 92 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12 14 GDP PER CAPITA($) 16,000 14,000 12,000 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0 6 Source: World Bank National Accounts
  7. 7. China embraced more opportunities as millennials grew up 2003 19991999199920002001 19901993199419961997 First Stock Exchange Entry of Mobile Phone Internet Took off Computers move into households Return Of HK Birth of QQ Return of Macau Birth of Alibaba Birth of Baidu Entrance into WTO 200920092008 2005 20162015201320132011 Birth of Alipay Shenzhou No.6 Beijing Olympics Birth of Sina Weibo 11.11 Online Shopping Festival Began Birth of WeChat Mobile Internet Users Reach 500M Birth of Yuebao by Alibaba Policy of Internet+ Legalization of Car-hailing 7
  8. 8. Millennials witnessed China’s express economic rise and social development FAST economic growth at double-digit space LESS government control over daily life NEW communication and information technology MORE access to local and foreign goods and services BIG increase in family income 8
  9. 9. These adults are a product of China’s Economic Reform, and are dramatically different from previous generations Millennials 9
  10. 10. Thus, we will look into 10 What millennials do to express their individualities How they extend and balance their role in the society&
  11. 11. Rhythm takes you into the world of millennials 11 Media Industry BAT
  12. 12. Increased household incomes have provided millennials a life without the worries of fulfilling basic necessities, enabling them to focus on intangible needs and life enhancements. Individuality is essential 12
  13. 13. Well-off families provide millennials lives that have no back and belly worries 11% 44% 300K-500K 21.5% 100K-300K 9.5% >500K Average annual household incomes of millennials (Tier 1 & provincial capitals) 25% <100K 13 Source: RET, How malls attract 90s
  14. 14. But they still fear future uncertainties, and choose to live in the now 48% Like to enjoy life and don’t worry about the future 60% Have a practical outlook on life 14 Lives have been comfortable for millennials. However, they also are confronted by a reality of pervasive corruption, slowing growth rates, heavy pollution, and serious food security issues. They feel insecure and don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Therefore, they choose to focus on the present and enjoy the now. Source: CNRS 2015 & Huffington Post: China’s 90s generation: new minds, old world
  15. 15. Happiness is doing what they want What happiness means across 3 generations A life doing what I like A successful career A stable life 90s 80s 70s 15 Source: OMD Future of China
  16. 16. They live and spend in the now 38% Make ends meet 36% Excessive consumption 26% Save money Millennials do not save. If spending money can make them happy now, they do it. 16 Source: RET, How malls attract 90s
  17. 17. They care about how they present themselves to the world The 90s generation believe in presenting themselves to the world, dressing up is a way to assert their personality. When buying online products, millennials buy things that can show their individuality and prefer buying clothes, skincare and cosmetics. Unique Practical Good Quality 90s 80s 70s Online shopping preferences of 3 generations 17 Source: Taobao, Consumption trends of 70s, 80s and 90s
  18. 18. Maintaining a good figure is part of looking good and staying healthy Concerned about health, millennials are enthusiastic for fitness. 35% of them are willing to pay expensive gym membership with credit card. Age profile of fitness fans 18 11% Under 19 52% 20 to 29 25% 30 to 39 8% 40 to 49 Above50 4% Source: Keep big data
  19. 19. Travelling helps them understand the world Travelling is a favorite activity. In the past 1 year, 32% of the millennials travelled domestically, 7% to HK/Macao and 6% went abroad. In the next 1 year, 26% of millennials plan to travel domestic, 10% to HK/Macao while 11% of them want to travel abroad Top 5 favorite domestic destinations Top 5 favorite outbound destinations Hangzhou Nanjing Chengdu Xiamen Xi’an Hong Kong Seoul Singapore Bangkok Taipei 19 Source: CNRS 2015/ Ctrip: Travel behavior of 90s
  20. 20. Millennials face fierce competition in finding a job and feel the brunt of that stress They began to enter China’s workforce 4 years ago. In 2016 itself, there were nearly 7.7 million university graduates in China. 4.1 5 5.5 6.1 6.3 6.6 6.8 7 7.3 7.5 7.7 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Colleges & universities graduates by year (million) 60% millennials feel very stressed and their concerns are 1 2 3 Job Pressure Health Housing prices 20 Source: OMD Future of China
  21. 21. But they are still changing jobs as they wish They have become a generation that switches jobs within a short period of time 21
  22. 22. This is because personal interest is more important than salary Personal interest Career development Respect to employees Welfare Salary Factors considered when choosing a job 62% of millennials care about personal interest more than salary when choosing a job 22 Source: Zhilian Zhaopin, Career profile of 90s
  23. 23. Enjoy self-deprecating humor Social language reflects how millennials view themselves. Beyond the selfies and confidence, millennials are also self-aware, thus their social language is punctuated with self-deprecating humor. This trend in self-mocking is birthed from the need to release pressure in a stressful society. Self- obsessed Self- confident Self- mocking Self- deprecation Popular social language style for Chinese 90s 23
  24. 24. Fuyuanhui, a post 90s Olympic swimmer, recently received worldwide attention for her facial expressions and frank sense of humor I didn’t hold back. I already used all my mystical energy. Maybe my arms are too short. If they were a bit longer, maybe the silver medal would be mine. I am very satisfied with today’s scores. I am not looking forward to tomorrow. Fu’s remarks are typically post 90s. Unlike previous athletes who follow official protocol, she feels free to say what she wants in front of the camera and is willing to make fun of herself. 24
  25. 25. While this is a generation who cares about their individuality, they also recognize their role in society and want to make a difference Individuals belong to society 25
  26. 26. They are proud of China “Different from previous generations, the era in which the 90s generation grew up was the time when China started to rise. There are no memories of inferiority, suffering or shame. They are proud of China’s economy and international prestige. In their mindset, China is as good as other developed countries. There are problems in China, but they also exist in foreign countries… One cannot simply define China as good or bad. Thus, when people assail China, they will easily turn into patriots.” - from Global Times 26
  27. 27. Nationalism expressed differently by millennials The 2016 Chinese war of Biaoqingbao on Facebook Pokemon GO: Occupy Japan Yasukuni Shrine Angry Chinese swimming fans trolled Olympian’s social media The 90s defend and protect China in their own way—particularly on internet. 27
  28. 28. They are concerned with social problems Violence & Crime Food Security Pollution Social Harmony Disaster 28
  29. 29. They contribute to the society, and want to make a difference Netizens who donated via Alipay to 2016 China Flood Charities by generation 90s 48.2% 38.1% 80s 13.7% others As they grew up, millennials started to focus on small actions that make a big impact. They are aware of their social responsibilities and are willing to make contributions even when it’s small. They believe small actions will start a trend that grows into a tidal wave. 29 Source: Alipay data
  30. 30. They lead a lifestyle of sustainability 57% Willing to change his life style for the benefit of environment 30 Born near a lake, I have witnessed the water is decreasing sharply in recent years. I am worried the lake will disappear one day. We 90s should save water and protect the environment. Don’t make money at the expense of destroying the environment #fresh air blue sky# Yiqi Han is a senior colleague student as well as a bus fan. He combined the love for bus with major and wrote mobile app programming named GET ALONG WITH BUS. This will help citizens for a green commuting Refuse to use disposable chopsticks from the deliver food Source: CNRS 2015
  31. 31. They care about morality and ethics 80% Stop supporting favorite stars if they go against moral principles 76% Support companies that make a contribution to society 75% Think merchants’ ethics affect their purchase decisions Cheating & doing drugs Criticized for Praised for Supported for Producing an energy- saving air-condition Donating 100mil to Wenchuan which suffered in the earthquake 31 Source: CNRS 2015 & Tencent entertainment
  32. 32. They are open-minded and seek diverse friendship groups Life is colorful, and friends should also be diverse and open- minded Accept homosexuality88% 69% Have many friends of diverse types 32 Source: CNRS 2015 & Baidu, 90s insight
  33. 33. Millennials are balancing the polar demands of an individual and society 33 Live & spend in the now Do what they want Assert personality Travel a lot to see the world Enjoy self-deprecating humor… Express nationalism Donate to disaster charities Voice for sustainability Care about ethics Embrace diversity… As an individual As part of the society
  34. 34. IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS 34
  35. 35. Have a unique brand personality Individuality is important to millennials. They refuse to follow the mainstream and insist on having their own perspectives. A brand should focus on building a unique brand personality, stand out positioning differentiations with competitors and have its own point of view. 35
  36. 36. Brand engagement should have a sense of humor and be down-to-earth This is a generation who love amusement and tongue in cheek language. Brands should think about how to fit in their social language, and deliver their message in a humorous and self-deprecating way. 36
  37. 37. Establish an ethical brand image, and pay attention to major events impacting millennials Millennials have strong sense of nationalism. They care about what is happening in society and want to play their part in fulfilling social responsibility. Brands should pay attention to ethics, and especially avoid behaviors going against 90s’ nationalism. Meanwhile, voice and be supportive in big events to win brand preference. 37
  38. 38. Focus on life enhancements Millennials go travelling, hit the gyms and enjoy shopping simply because they crave a better life quality and need to broaden horizons. They are willing to pay for the cost also. Communication themes including a better life will help brands to attract the attention. 38
  39. 39. 39 contact us Bhasker Jaiswal Bhasker.Jaiswal@omd.com MANAGING PARTNER BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE Jeanette Phang Jeanette.Phang@omd.com BUSINESS DIRECTOR BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE Windy Wang Windy.Wang@omd.com MANAGER BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

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