2013 promises to be a big year for China and it’s massive consumer culture continues to thrive. Large shifts to be aware of in 2013 are increased spending on the very young and the elderly, leisure activities and higher quality products.
A breakdown of the top 10 trends by the South China Morning Post are:

  • Paying for safety

According to the report, consumers have had enough of repeated food safety scares and fake products. As a result, many are paying more for organic food and certified products. Road safety is also an issue, supported by an increase in the number of Chinese motorists buying car insurance. A surge in the number of posts on both issues on blogging sites shows there is an overall higher concern for safety.

  • Going micro-mad

Whether it’s buying clothes or watching movies, the Chinese most desire convenient and trouble-free purchases. They want to consume their films in shorter soundbites and quick and easy payments, especially with the increase of mobile shopping. By the end of June 2012, netizens paying via mobile phone had already reached 44.4 million, representing a 46% increase over the end of 2011.

  • A hunger for culture

China’s middle classes are developing an appetite for the arts, gourmet food and travel. They are spending more on threatre, concerts and leisure activities. Their tastes in food are changing too, consuming more high-brow cuisine than ever before. And most tellingly, they want to share their new tastes with everyone else on social media platforms by posting photos of where they are travelling to and what they’re eating when they get there– an increase in SLR camera sales supports this data.

Before grabbing their chopsticks, more Chinese are photographing their gourmet meals.

Before grabbing their chopsticks, more Chinese are photographing their gourmet meals.

  • More spending on the young

The future is bright if you’re the young child of a Chinese middle class couple. The report states that spending on education and technology now dominates the household budget. More young people are using adult gadgets and as a result of the one-child policy, parents are sparing no expense on giving their young any head-start opportunity that money can buy. Parents are also investing more time in their offspring- noted with an increase in takings at the Chinese Box Office for children’s films.

  • Singles Power

With not a care in the world, the increasing number of singles in China is boosting the leisure and retail industries. Record numbers of shoppers took advantage of Singles’ Day in November 2012, and particularly an offer of 50 per cent off at online merchants at Tmall.com. The report also claims that single people go to the cinema more often than anyone else. Smart phone apps that help singles meet others are also booming, such as WeChat which has over 100 million users.

  • It’s fashionable to be charitable

“Donate while you forward (your microblog)” and “donate by buying”- these are a few outlets in which the Chinese demonstrate their socially responsible activities. “More and more consumers are prepared to spend their free time serving others rather than working for money. Social responsibility is becoming more important to consumers.”

  • A yearning for nostalgia

Consumers want their emotional needs met in the process of consumption. Retro products and posting blogs about them have become increasingly popular. Older films like Titanic 3D did huge business at the box office, bringing back memories for those who saw it the first time around. Throwback Warrior Shoes took the fashion world by storm and tweets on “retro” in particular saw a tenfold increase.

  • Old is the new young

China’s middle class older generation are breaking their traditional mindset and travelling the world – and spending their money to do it. Gone are the days when they had to save very penny, this generation is opening to influence from the western world. Also, the current trend sees over 60s buying more mobile phones than ever, and more than 1.3 million senior netizens aged over 50 shopping online as the average income for the 55-64 cohort rises.

  • The “go-between” economy

Purchasing agent websites that enable users to track down luxury items at a cheaper price are growing in popularity with Chinese consumers. The market of overseas purchasing agencies reached 25 billion RMB in 2011, a 140 per cent increase from 2010. Consumers are also car pooling, with websites such as www.pinker365.com becoming hugely popular. Consumers are using the internet to engage with other culture as well as people in their local area.

  • Crossover Economy

Celebrities joining forces with stars from other disciplines, the integration of online and offline and the integration of 2D and 3D… This, according to the report, is what makes consumers happy. Gone are the days of easy entertainment, consumers want the new and different.

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