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Singles' Day (11.11)

‘Post-90s’ generation dominates consumer spending in Singles’ Day 11.11 shopping festival

  • People born in 1990s have become main consumption power, Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang says
PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 November, 2018, 7:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018, 6:04pm

They just could not get enough of Jackson Yee.

Each time the 17-year-old member of Chinese pop idol group TFBoys appeared on stage at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, his panel-waving fans broke out screaming, even if it is just a glimpse of his face in a commercial.

The fans, many in their teens and 20s, chanted his name throughout the four-hour gala on Saturday to usher in Alibaba Group Holding’s record-setting Singles’ Day (11.11) shopping extravaganza. Yee is a celebrity spokesman for Alibaba’s Tmall platform.

“People born in the 1990s have become the main consumption power,” Daniel Zhang Yong, Alibaba’s chief executive, told reporters at the Singles’ Day event in Shanghai over the weekend. “They lead a very different lifestyle, they are the generation born on the internet. They’re living on the mobile internet today – the way they select products or brands is very different from [older] generations.”

The post-90s generation comprises about 16 per cent of China’s population and is expected to account for more than 20 per cent of total consumption growth in the country through 2030, according to a McKinsey & Co report in November 2017.

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About two in five of them label themselves “happiness seekers”, defining their success in terms of their own happiness. Another 27 per cent seek material success but reward themselves when they feel stressed from day-to-day pressures, the McKinsey report said.

They are also active on the internet. About 28 per cent of China’s 802 million-strong online population are aged between 20 and 29, accounting for the largest segment, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre.

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Apart from being internet natives, the post-90s generation is also more brand savvy and in general, value quality over price, according to Koh Yew Hong, managing director and retail lead for professional consultancy Accenture in Greater China.

Koh said these consumers are best served with an “omni-channel” retail infrastructure, which integrates online and offline stores, supported by logistics that enable swift delivery within a three-kilometre radius.

“With increased income and product exposure, the post-90s consumers are expected to become a strong force in driving domestic consumption over the next five to 10 years,” he said.

Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.