Generation Z, people born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s, and the silver generation, those aged 65 and above, are set to become the backbone of China's next powerful consumption group, a new report said.
According to a report from JD Big Data Research Institute, art toys with cultural intellectual property rights are gaining traction among China's Gen Z population, as the sales of garage kits, Lego blocks and blind boxes on JD's online marketplaces surged 618 percent, 375 percent and 235 percent, respectively, in 2020, compared with 2019.
The purchasing potential for healthcare products by Gen Zers is enormous. The sharpest increase comes from the sales volume of antioxidant products, which is six times greater than in 2019. Sales of smart healthcare devices have also risen 314 percent, making the biggest year-on-year increase across all age groups.
Meanwhile, young people are actively embracing time-honored brands, for which sales among Gen Z increased by 315 percent during this year's shopping festival from June 1 to 18, compared with the same period in 2020.
The report also pointed out that more than 1 million people under the age of 25 search for self-development books each day. Books for all kinds of qualification tests including professional certificates are among the bestsellers, which demonstrates that studying for skills and occupations contributes to some of the biggest pressures on the shoulders of Gen Zers.
According to market consultancy iResearch, Gen Zers were born subsequently with the emerging of the internet. They've grown up in a virtual and diverse environment, and formed a strong sense of individuality. That sense of individuality leads to the main characteristic of the group's consumption behavior: a willingness to pay for the additional value of the products, and stay on top of trends in society.
The consultancy also said Gen Z consumers pay equal attention to entertainment and learning, have high consumption abilities, and prefer to buy fashionable, trendy products that are recommended by key opinion leaders. Moreover, they favor high-end skin care and cosmetics.
Fan Junhao, chief analyst of retail and cosmetics industry at China International Capital Corp Ltd, said new consumption patterns and new types of products are emerging, and he is optimistic about the growth potential of beauty, personal care and healthcare industries, driven by consumption upgrades and the rise of younger generations.
The report also noted that elderly people aged 60 and above are struggling to get used to the rapid digitalization of society. The COVID-19 pandemic combined with the prevailing usage of online services, especially the health services, have further precipitated seniors' participation in online shopping.
Sales of healthcare services increased more than ten times year-on-year in 2020, and the volume of online diagnoses has also spiked by 233 times.
The total population of Chinese people on the mainland aged 60 or above has reached 264.02 million, including 190.64 million people aged 65 or above, or 13.5 percent of the total population, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, citing data from the seventh national census conducted last year.
Apart from taking care of their physical health, the silver group has invested significantly in maintaining their hobbies. For instance, sales of painting, photography and swimming products rose by nearly 70 percent in the first half of 2021, compared with the same period of 2020, according to the report. The sales of services for pets and laundry increased by more than 4.5 times year-on-year from January to June.
The elderly are also interested in smart digital products, and other cleverly designed items for emergencies, such as wireless emergency buttons and portable oxygen machines.
"Seniors are willing to accept new products for healthier and more convenient lives," said Liu Hui, chief data officer of JD Big Data Research Institute, adding the elderly demographic seems more willing to buy the same smartphones everybody else is using instead of being shut out of the digital world.