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Chinese Consumer Generation Series: Generation X

Generation X (X世代/ X一代), born between 1965–1980, is the early adopters of technology. Despite the term Generation X has been used at various times to describe alienated youth from the early 1950s, the term acquired its contemporary application after the release of Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, a 1991 novel written by Canadian author Douglas Coupland. They may be a little older, and the “Gen X mindset” may not be as appealing as Gen Z and Millennials, but they are still an important section of the consumer audience.

What are the Gen X characteristics?

Chinese generation X consumers

Gen X consumption has become more mature and rational, paying more attention to the practicality and the quality of the product rather than whether the design is new. The main consumer categories are furniture, home appliances, hardware, jewelry, fresh food, and alcohol. They pay attention to the practicability of the products, they like international brands and have considerable brand loyalty.

Gen X relationship with Social Media and Kol

generation X chinese relationship with social media

Gen X likes to focus on traditional social media such as WeChat, Weibo, and QQ and has clear goals when conducting social media activities. Traditional word-of-mouth, or listening to friends and family offline, is a more important source of influence among Gen X (69% put this category in their top three sources of influence) than KOL.

Gen X and Fashion & Beauty

chinese fashion man generation x gen z

Gen X consumers are right now in senior management positions and they have a strong spending power to enjoy their life, above all in the entertainment sector. At this stage, the female crowd is very fond of buying luxury consumer goods such as jewelry. In the beauty sector, they still prefer well-known brands compared to the other generations. About the age distribution of consumers on Tmall, according to CBN data, only 7% of Gen X prefers domestic skincare & makeup.

Gen X and e-commerce

chinese ecommerce

Brand power and physical experience are the main factors that affect their purchasing decisions, 56% of them prefer to purchase online, while 65% of them will no longer shop with a retailer after just one poor customer experience. Gen X shoppers in China indicate they are more likely (36%) to “buy products on the go” than Gen Z consumers in other countries, while only 35% of Gen X consumers embrace online eCommerce sites that allow peer-to-peer transactions such as Taobao and second-hand marketplace Xianyu. About Taobao, Gen X was the third force of consumption on Double Eleven with 18.3%.

Gen X and Food & Beverage

Today’s consumers purchase alcoholic beverages not only for the aim of “drinking and socializing,” but also to improve their mood, sleep, and other needs. At the same time, the demand for wine products is increasing. There is a saying in the wine industry that “ white wine was born in the 70s, red wine was born in the 80s, and low-grade and healthy fruit wine was born in the 90s”. The data shows that among domestic liquor consumers, the post-70s accounted for 29.4%.

Because of the epidemic, though, some food and drink habits have changed, according to research, the average monthly order of food delivery for Gen X users in first-tier cities surpassed 5 times for the first time, turning Gen X users into very loyal customers. For categories such as fresh food, alcohol, etc., Gen X has a high consumption among all generations. At the same time, health consumption (such as nutrients and other health products) is growing rapidly.

Sources: Kantar, Ali Research Institute, “Digital Consumers in Asia”, “China consumer report 2021”, CBN Data, 疫情重塑外卖格局:新消费·新品牌·新担当

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