[Video] How are China’s youths spending their money?

Amid a challenging economic landscape, China’s youths (aged 16-24) are grappling with a 14.9% unemployment rate as of December 2023. Feeling the impact, the younger generation has made saving a top priority and are reevaluating their spending habits. This shift has seen them transition from "wild spending" to "reverse spending", from "impulsive consumption" to "rational spending", and from "revenge spending" to "experiential consumption". Here's a glimpse into how they are navigating this change.
A customer tries on gold jewelry in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. (Screen grab from CCTV)
A customer tries on gold jewelry in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. (Screen grab from CCTV)

Rather than chasing trends and brand names, China’s youths are opting for affordable military coats over pricier winter jackets. With the motto "Save 100% when you don't buy", they resist the call of marketing tactics during mega online sales events like the 618 shopping festival in June or Singles' Day deals in November. 

But what are youths spending on? According to the 2022-23 annual livelihood survey by CCTV Finance, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Post, the top three spending categories for youths aged 18-35 are travelling (32.77%), IT products (31.67%), and health and wellness (31.04%). Additionally, they are very willing to make gold investments and spend on their pets, reflecting a newfound emphasis on value retention, self-care and meaningful experiences.


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