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What Makes China’s Gen Z Tick? The Reports Released by Soul App Have the Answer

Instagram recently released a report for Zoomers across the world. Soul App, a popular social app in China, also released several reports on what makes Gen Z tick back in 2023. These behoove the question, “Why the sudden interest in this cohort?”   

The answer is simple – Zoomers are fast turning into the backbone of the economy as they enter and conquer the workforce.

In China alone, Gen Z’s spending is pegged to soar to 16 trillion yuan ($2.4 trillion) by 2035. Simply put, no brand or business can continue to thrive without a thorough understanding of how Gen Z thinks and what this consumer demographic wants.     

And since the Soul App reports a deep dive into the mindset of China’s Gen Z, these help to understand both the similarities and differences between how youngsters in China feel as compared to Zoomers across the world.

What’s common? 

  1. Spend less by spending smart

According to the Instagram report, their inclination towards sustainability is what sets Zoomers apart from previous generations. Despite their spending power, Gen Z has no qualms about embracing money-saving trends like “Buy Less New Clothes”, “Repeating Outfits”, “Thrifting and/or shopping secondhand online”, and “DIY”. 

On the other hand, China’s Gen Z has taken a different approach to conscious consumerism. They do not mind spending but they are unwilling to splurge on impulses. Instead, they are going out of their way to do their homework about products on their to-buy lists, which has turned them into rational shoppers.    

This “Smart Spending” trend was evident in 2023 Single’s Day purchases. Nearly 80% of youngsters who participated in the App survey said that they had set a shopping budget for Double 11.

Moreover, almost 43% of respondents said that they had a clear idea of what they wanted to buy and even had a strategy in place to pick the right products at the right price. Another 31% of the youngsters clarified that they compared product prices across various channels and platforms before buying. 

  1. Priority to self-development

If impulse buying and flaunting luxury brands isn’t the in-thing for Gen Z, then what’s their new focus? 

According to Instagram, for Zoomers, 2024 is going to be all about personal growth, with “Self Improvement or Development” being the top era for the coming year, followed closely by “Unapologetically myself”.

This isn’t very different from the picture painted by the Soul App report which explained that China’s Gen Z is adept at navigating the information explosion fueled by social media. So, extracting information, knowledge, and resources from the digital landscape is second nature to them. Zoomers show a distinct tilt towards acquiring valuable information for learning and personal growth.

Specifically, 43.6% of Zoomers (young women more so than young men) stated that personal growth is one of their primary goals for online networking. 

  1. Desire for emotional connect

A peep into Z-generation’s view of relationships through the Instagram report reveals that Zoomers are particularly keen on nurturing existing relationships. When youngsters were quizzed about what they valued the most about their friends, the majority responded with, “I can tell them anything” and many answered with, “They get me better than anyone else.”

Decoding these responses points to the fact that Gen Z covets deeper and more meaningful connections and shared interests above all else. And that’s exactly what the Soul App report revealed about China’s Gen Z.

Nearly 70% of those surveyed favored “Having common topics and interests that bring mental satisfaction and happiness”, whereas only 39.86% opted for relationships that “Offer practical help and benefits”, making this the least preferred choice.

What’s different in China?

  1. More keen on “Making Money” 

According to the Instagram report, Gen Z’s top three priorities for 2024 are to “stay healthy” (work out regularly, eat healthy, etc.), explore a career path, and travel. This is strikingly different from the goals of China’s Zoomers.

For them, the most overreaching goal is an improvement in their financial status.“To make money” is their primary goal, followed by “staying healthy” and “spending time with loved ones”.

This desire is understandable as youngsters in China are now struggling with employment and work. In China’s Tier-1 and “New Tier-1” cities, 83% of fresh graduates attach great importance to their first jobs, believing it has an impact on their entire careers. 

  1. More active on social media to explore new friendships

The Instagram report states that the world over the relationship priority for Gen Z’ers centers on strengthening existing and current relationships. But Chinese youngsters feel differently.

As per the Soul App report, Zoomers on this side of the globe are beginning to feel a sense of lacking as far as their relationships go. Superficial relationships, the kind forged through legacy social platforms, no longer appeal to them. 

Instead, they are seeking a more diversified network of friends with common grounds that connect them. For working Gen-Zers, the feeling of being burnt out by life is all too real. Yet, they have high expectations from new and deep friendships and they cherish such associations.

Everything is sociable to China’s Gen Z. Data shows that Gen-Z users spend 8.33 hours a day on their smartphones. More than 50% of them use mobile devices to surf the Internet four times a day, and 31% prefer online socializing. Zoomers pin their continued involvement on social platforms to the fact that digital space gives them a sense of safety and the freedom to be themselves. 

In the words of one user, “On social platforms, my anxiety eases as I’m not afraid of showing my true self and speaking my mind. At turns, I can be a powerful player who calls the shots in games and leads my teammates to victory, or a punchline-spouting chatterbox”, said Wang Yuancheng, a user on Zhihu, which is China’s largest question-and-answer forum.

Gen Z has a distinctly different view on the role of online networking in fulfilling expectations for a social life. The Soul App report revealed that 23.75% of users said “almost all their goals were achieved” through online networking. This figure surpasses the expectations achieved through offline social interactions.

In a nutshell, China’s Zoomers have scores of things in common with youngsters across the world but their attitudes, desires, and goals stem from their innate sense of individuality. So, for any business that wants to tap into this consumer demographic, it is important to understand that they need to have a nuanced marketing approach to get the attention of Chinese Gen Zers.

IEMLabs is an ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 9001:2015 certified company, we are also a proud member of EC Council, NASSCOM, Data Security Council of India (DSCI), Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The company was established in 2016 with a vision in mind to provide Cyber Security to the digital world and make them Hack Proof. The question is why are we suddenly talking about Cyber Security and all this stuff? With the development of technology, more and more companies are shifting their business to Digital World which is resulting in the increase in Cyber Crimes.


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