It’s a new age for women in China.

Their taste for beer has matured, their appetite for gaming is on the rise and greater numbers are choosing to delay or opt against getting marriage and becoming mothers.

With great economic opportunity, higher levels of social stability, and more independence both financially and socially, it’s not difficult to see why China has produced the most self-made female billionaires.

Chinese women are empowered to decide on the lives they want for themselves in 2021. The purchasing power of female consumers in China is being recognised across industry, with spending during the pandemic demonstrating the extent of financial resources held by many Chinese women.

Female consumers currently account for three out of four purchases in China. But it’s not just the quantity of products sold in the past year which showcase the strength of this consumer group. The quality and variety of goods and services that female consumers demand is also changing. From cosmetics to fashion, health and fitness to gaming, travel and luxury goods, female consumers are investing in self-improvement and crafting their own public image. They are also helping to drive what companies like are referring to as a “consumption upgrade.”

With higher disposable incomes than ever before, Chinese women in their 20s to 40s are now able to make choices that were less available to their mothers or grandmothers. Some are deciding to have smaller or larger households, now that China’s one-child policy is no longer in place. Many are comparatively well educated and modern Chinese pop culture is encouraging them to splurge on themselves. Just like generations of women in the West saw single life and shopping glorified in U.S. shows like Sex and the City, Chinese women have newfound appreciation for the same self-pampering and luxuries of life thanks to the latest Chinese hit show, Sisters Who Make Waves.

With 33 million more men than women in China as of 2019, Chinese women are even spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting a romantic partner.

To better understand the rise of female consumers in China, let’s have a look at their behaviour across some of the leading consumer industries:

chinese women drinking coffee

Food and Beverage

When it comes to China’s US$662.7 billion catering market, women are feasting on more than their fair share. According to Industrial Securities, female consumers account for 60 percent of the multibillion dollar sector.

Chinese women have also developed a thirst for beer, with beer consumption increasing by 27 percent amongst female consumers between July 2019 and August 2020 alone.

luxury chinese female

Luxury Goods

Recently the Chinese government made a move to loosen control of licenses for duty free franchises. China already accounts for 30 percent of global luxury spending, but by exempting tax on luxury goods, premier products may soon become more affordable to the average Chinese citizen.

In 2019, female consumers in China were estimated to have spent US $700 billion on luxury items globally. They are even challenging traditional gender stereotypes by making up over 40 percent of luxury car purchases in China’s car industry.

chinese female fitness

Healthcare and Fitness

One of the most popular self-care investments made by female consumers during lockdown was the sale of fitness gear. China Daily Asia reported that “yoga mats, body care and female care products soared by 142 percent, 117 percent and 66 percent respectively year-on-year during the period January 20 to February 10” 2020.

Consultancy firm Mintel China surveyed female customers and said the data revealed Chinese women felt an increase in internal and external pressure amid the pandemic. Laurel Gu, a category director at Mintel, said that female consumers had also chosen to invest more in the “health, safety and protection” of themselves and their families, leading to huge increases in the sale of products like toys, musical instruments, and infant milk formula.

chinese female cosmetics


While women have long been the dominant consumers of cosmetic products, some ladies in China have enjoyed the opportunity to wear less makeup beneath their face masks during the pandemic.

However, ecommerce apps like Red, or Xiaohongshu, have continued to see growth in cosmetics sales in spite of the social distancing, isolation and other limitations brought by COVID-19. Consumer searches for beauty and makeup-and-skincare content were higher by 74 percent and 126 percent respectively in February 2020 than January.

online Chinese female

Connected Consumers

Mobile usage boomed in China in February 2020, with big data service provider QuestMobile reporting that female users in China spent 157 hours on mobile internet that month. This equals a 43 percent year-on-year increase.

At the height of the pandemic in China, active female shoppers hit 226 million – an increase of 8 percent year-on-year. Each female user spent around 7 hours on ecommerce apps at this time, which was a 10 percent year-on-year increase. Taobao and Pinduoduo were reported as being amongst the 10 apps that female users were most active on, but competition is growing with both increased and diversified channels for online purchases.

Chinese female gamer


Handheld gaming consoles cater to large audiences of both men and women in China.

Between January and February 2020, female purchases of Nintendo’s Switch console increased by 295 percent year on-year, and their purchases of tablet computers also grew by 50 percent year-on-year during this period.


Female consumers are one of the most lucrative yet rapidly evolving consumer segments in China. They challenge gender stereotypes and rival demand in industries typically dominated by male consumers.

To best understand how you can reach a certain demographic or target market within the enormous segment that is female consumers in China, reach out to our team at China Skinny today to get help in developing the right research and marketing plan for your business!













If a picture tells a thousand words, how about a video?

Lunar New Year is one of the most significant festival periods on the calendar for Chinese people. Whether they be living in Mainland China or in diaspora communities around the world, they traditionally treat this as the most important time of year to return home for celebrations with family.

China’s domestic consumption rebounded well last year in spite of COVID-19, but this festive season will be celebrated differently due to travel restrictions. Following the government’s advice against travel, most Chinese will be staying put in their resident city rather than heading back to their hometowns.

Given that Chinese New Year is normally the largest annual human migration in the world, it’s no wonder that Mark Wang, CEO of Edelman China, sees celebrating in ‘resident cities’ rather than hometowns as the key difference between the 2021 festival and previous years. Wang says this homesickness amongst Chinese is driving increased use of entertainment platforms and ‘online festivals.’

While consumers are still highly receptive to effective Chinese New Year marketing campaigns, the tone of advertising this year has shifted from loud marketing, to empathising with the difficult emotions that people are dealing with during these unprecedented circumstances. Coming out of a challenging 2020, Wang says:

“(Marketing) Messages that resonate with consumers include those that: acknowledge the feelings of homesickness; missing one’s parents/extended family and the act of travelling back to their hometown; the importance of relaxing after an unusually tough year; and welcoming the new year with a smaller circle of friends or immediate family.”

For any brand looking to do business with China in 2021, it’s useful to consider what success looks like when it comes to Chinese New Year marketing campaigns. We watched and analysed some of the most viral Chinese New Year videos from the past year to help you with creative ideas for advertising in 2021.

Here are examples from four of the top global brands, and a breakdown of their campaign performance on China’s most popular video platforms Tencent Video.


Title of video: Shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max l Chinese New Year – Nian
Date published: 29 January 2021
Duration of video: 11:57 minutes
Number of views on Tencent Video: 23.672 million
Chinese culture insights: Close intergenerational bonds within the family; Coming together to celebrate the CNY festival
Relevance of campaign to Chinese New Year (CNY): The fable of ‘Nian’ is directly linked to CNY. It is the reason why families set off fireworks. Shows typical CNY celebrations – having a meal with family, watching lion dancing.
Other possible reasons for the video’s success: Director of the short film is Lulu Wang, the director of a 2020 Global Globes Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. Video is emotive and plays on the nostalgia of Chinese audiences by bringing to life a well-known childhood story, and reimagining or questioning the meaning behind it. Product being advertised isn’t physically shown anywhere in the film – it is only mentioned in title. Emphasis is on the campaign’s memorability, rather than pushing sales of the product.
Unexpected twist to the traditional: ‘Nian’ story, with a happy ending and deeper life lesson in the campaign. Colours of the film are not the saturated bright reds, which brand frequently use in trying to keep up with the concept of loud and colourful festivals.
Memorable quotes: “Every new year, we set off all these fireworks. Is it really to scare off the monsters? Or to light up the dark night sky and all the places we want to go?”
Watch the  video inside the Great Firewall:


Title of video: Burberry Chinese New Year | A New Awakening
Date published: 18 January 2021
Duration of video: 06:35 minutes
Number of views on Tencent Video: 6.957 million
Chinese culture insights: Filial piety; Close family ties
Relevance of campaign to Chinese New Year (CNY): Red paper CNY cut-outs stuck on windows; Product placement of new Burberry clothing which includes bull image in recognition of the Year of the Ox zodiac in 2021.
Other possible reasons for the video’s success: Beautiful cinematic footage. Thought-provoking storytelling which is relatable for viewers – likening the ups and downs, or seasons, of life
Memorable quotes: “What have I smelled? The drizzles of winter, the sweat of summer, the languor of spring and the romance of autumn.”
“But the most memorable scent will forever be grandpa’s, grandma’s, dad’s, mom’s, my family’s (scent). The unrivalled scent.”
Watch the  video inside the Great Firewall:


Title of video: Lunar New Year: The Great Chase | Nike
Date published: 15 January 2020
Duration of video: 01:30 minutes
Number of views on Tencent Video: 3.273 million
Chinese culture insights: Filial piety; Close family ties
Relevance of campaign to Chinese New Year (CNY): Children receive red envelopes from relatives growing up, and are expected to give red envelopes once they are married and have children. Showing annual family reunion and mealtime festivities for CNY. Demonstrating the humorous side of one of the most important traditions of CNY – giving and receiving red envelopes.
Other possible reasons for the video’s success: Clever product placement – Nike trainers are integral to the joke of trying to outrun the family member who is attempting to gift a red-envelope. Showing China’s transformation over the years in terms of fashion (trainers and clothing) and methods of gifting red envelope (physical envelope vs digital envelope, often sent over platforms like WeChat)
Memorable quotes: “Mom says I can’t accept it (the red envelope)”
“不客气”and “别客气” “You’re welcome” are the lyrics of the background music in the video
Watch the  video inside the Great Firewall:


Title of video: Gucci Chinese New Year Campaign: #Disney x Gucci
Date published: 4 January 2020
Duration of video: 01:00 minutes
Number of views on Tencent Video: Video not uploaded to Tencent
Chinese culture insights: No obvious references to China or Chinese culture
Relevance of campaign to Chinese New Year (CNY): No direct or obvious link to CNY
Other possible reasons for the video’s success: Video either shows expat Chinese character living abroad in a Western country or travelling there to celebrate the CNY break – travel, both international and domestic, is an increasingly popular way that younger Chinese are choosing to celebrate the festival. Demonstrating diversity. Happy vibes which represent the traditionally festive mood of CNY
Memorable quotes: No dialogue
Watch the  video inside the Great Firewall: iQIYI


How do the campaigns differ and how could we compare their success?

The above Gucci and Nike advertisements were published in 2020, while Apple and Burberry’s are from 2021. However, it’s interesting to see that just because a video has been on the platform for many months, or has a high number of views, this does not necessarily translate into viewer engagement.

The most views on Chinese video platform iQIYI were racked up by Apple (23.692 million), followed by Burberry (6.957 million) and Nike (3.273 million). An increasing in viewership of the 2021 Chinese New Year video campaigns supports Edelman China CEO Mark Wang’s insight that entertainment platforms have seen an uptick due to consumers spending less time on travel.

Gucci’s 2020 Chinese New Year partnership with Disney is the earliest campaign published amongst those in the table. Although it has received almost ten times as many views on YouTube as Apple’s 2021 Chinese New Year campaign, Apple’s video about the legend of Nian has received more than five times as many likes.

The two video campaigns with the highest engagement were made by Apple and Nike, with 14K likes and 11K likes, in 2021 and 2020 respectively. Both emphasized the importance of subtle product placement and drawing in their audience through clever storytelling. While Apple used cinematic filming, nostalgia and a life lesson to promote their latest iPhone, Nike pulled in viewers with a hilarious storyline of a child trying to evade the red packet generosity of their aunt. The huge popularity of both of these campaigns proves that Chinese consumers are receptive to video campaigns that are longer and more serious (Apple’s video is 11:57 minutes), and campaigns which are shorter and light-hearted (Nike’s video is 01:30 minutes). Video length, content and tone should also be tailored to the brand’s target market age, interests and attention span, all of which is evident in the Nike and Apple videos in particular.

The Gucci video is also the only one of the four which has no dialogue. Each of the other videos include storytelling in Mandarin, with English subtitles.

Our verdict on these four campaigns:

First place (draw): Apple and Nike
Each of these two videos demonstrated tasteful, culturally sensitive and relevant references to China and Chinese traditions. The videos were memorable and thought-provoking, making them the kind of content that viewers would want to share with friends and family. In doing so, they naturally encourage positive word-of-mouth for their products and the brands’ understanding of Chinese consumers.

The link to Chinese New Year is also obvious and artistic in each of these two videos.

Second place: Burberry
Similar to Apple, Burberry focused on developing a cinematic video with a life lesson woven through its storytelling. Product placement was subtle, yet effective and directly linked to the Year of the Ox. Burberry was the only brand out of the four which referenced the relevant zodiac animal in its campaign.

Third place: Gucci
The positives in Gucci’s video include it being light-hearted, short, fun and colourful. However, there was no obvious link to Chinese New Year and the casting of actors in the video was heavily skewed towards representing a diverse group of cultural backgrounds, rather than focusing on actors with Chinese heritage. In doing so, it’s easy to mistake this video as being neither tailored to Chinese New Year nor to Chinese consumers. In spite of this, it has already gained over 3 million views on YouTube and positive engagement with comments and likes.


Marketing to China is complex and constantly evolving. One successful campaign does not equate to a lifetime of consumer brand loyalty. If you’re serious about doing business with China, we encourage you to take the time to do proper research into the tastes, preferences, needs and wants of your target market. And remember – Chinese New Year is just one of the many festivals which your brand can piggyback on to increase your sales amongst Chinese consumers.

Reach out to our team of friendly, highly experienced local and expat marketing consultancy experts to learn how we partner with businesses to help maximise your business results in China. We look forward to hearing from you!


All eyes are on China’s regulation of the big tech companies over recent weeks, but it’s not just Alibaba and Tencent that are being pulled in line with China’s laws.

When it comes to brand marketing in China, foreign companies should expect to do some extra preparation given that regulations can be even stricter there than they are in Western countries.

In the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, it’s normal to see brands loudly tooting their own horn such as Disney’s ‘the happiest place on earth’, Budweiser’s ‘King of Beers’, Blackmores’ ‘the best of health’, L&P’s ‘world famous in New Zealand’ and others.

But in China, these slogans would be slapped with a huge fine and subsequent loss of reputation.

The new advertising regulations have been effective since 1 September 2015 and are the first major revision of the Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China since being enacted in 1995. The new law expands regulations around the following products:

1. Medicine, medicinal treatment and medical devices
2. Pesticides, veterinary medicine, fodder and fodder additives
3. Tobacco and alcohol
4. Education and training
5. Products or services that promise return on investment
6. Real estate and listings; and
7. Seeds for cultivation and animals for breeding.

Not every global or local brand took the updated regulations on board and those that didn’t have paid the price for their mistake. Here are examples of some of the companies hit with fines in recent years for breaching China’s Advertising Laws:


blackmores ad in China that got them finedWhen and what: Fined US$53,390 (346,600yuan) in March 2017 for misleading advertising. On their website, the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) published that Blackmores was being fined for claiming that its products could treat arthritis and cardiovascular disease, amongst other ailments.

Law: Article 14 states that an advertisement for medicines should not in any way contain “any unscientific assertions or assurances in terms of efficiency or uses” nor should it claim “treatment efficiency or curative rate.”


China ad that got fineDigital marketplace specializing in second-hand cars

When and what: Fined US$1,926,580.55 (12,500,000 yuan) on November 15 2018 for the following false advertising claim: “One year after establishment, our transaction volume is leading the market.”

Law: Article 28 states that “using fictional, falsified, or unsubstantiated scientific research, statistics, survey, excerpt or quotation, as supporting material” is prohibited.


durex illegal ad chinaWhen and what: In 2019, Durex worked with HeyTea and Taopiaopiao on a joint marketing campaign, which was published across social media and included sexually explicit language. In July 2020, the Shanghai Municipal Administration for Market Regulation issued Durex with a retrospective fine of US$120,620 (810,000 yuan).

Law: Article 7 states “an advertisement should not contain anything that would jeopardize social and public order and violate good social conventions.”

Pictured: One of Durex’s better received marketing campaigns was released when Apple unveiled its 5G smartphone. Durex wove the new iPhone into their advertising by joking (above) “5G is fast, but you can slow it down.” The Weibo post received almost 1 million likes, 12 000 shares and over 40 000 comments.


When and what: Currently under investigation by the Beijing Ministry of Industry and Commerce for using superlative adjectives (specifically ‘best’) in advertising on their website. If found guilty, Xiaomi will have to fork out US$31,000 as a minimum penalty.

Law: Article 7 states that an advertisement should not contain superlative adjectives such as ‘state level,’ ‘highest level’ or ‘the best.’

Pictured: An advertisement for the Xiaomi Mi 11 model phone claims that it has “perhaps” the most expensive screen in the phone industry.

Fortunately, there are some global companies leading their peers in advertising, by adjusting their campaigns to be both appropriate and successful in China.

carlsberg china ad

Carlsberg Beer’s slogan “Probably the best beer in the world” skilfully included the word “probably” to make less of an absolute claim. Carlsberg then changed their Chinese slogan to “Spending 170 years to create better beer” to convey the same message in a less direct way.

If you’re developing a branding campaign for the Chinese market, follow Carlsberg’s example and make sure it abides by China’s advertising regulations.

Navigating China’s marketing laws can be daunting, especially when you’re developing positioning and messaging that is unique and catchy. Our team of local and foreign marketing experts can help you effectively and efficiently reach your target market, all while operating within the red tape. Reach out today to learn more!

We look forward to hearing from you.


Christmas is just around the corner and for many people in the west that means spending time with family, gaining a few extra kilos from festive feasting, and perhaps a visit to church to celebrate the religious significance of the holiday season.

In China, things are a little different.

While you can expect China’s big cities to have Christmas lights, Christmas trees and Santa decorations strung up in shopping centres with carols playing overhead, that doesn’t mean that Chinese people celebrate it in the same way.


1. A day for friends and couples

Chinese family and friends for Christmas

One Valentine’s Day is enough for most countries around the world, but in China there are six. Yet Chinese couples choose to include Christmas as another novelty occasion to celebrate their love.

As a mainstream international day of celebration, brands in China harness Christmas to market their products by offering discounts to bargain-hungry customers.

Young people are the main group that take advantage of this opportunity, scouring sales items to pick up gifts for their friends or significant other, either online or in-store.

In the week leading up to Christmas last year, “Christmas gifts for girlfriend,” “Christmas gifts” and “Christmas gift box” were amongst the most searched terms on Taobao by Chinese consumers in several provinces around the country.


2. Festive food

Chinese broccoli platter

Token Christmas gifts in the west may include a pair of socks or a scented candle. In China, it’s an apple wrapped in cellophane or printed with Christmas greetings.

The common name for apple in Mandarin (píng guŏ 苹果) sounds similar to the Chinese word for ‘peace’ (píng ān平安), so it’s not surprising that apples are sometimes known as ‘peaceful fruit’ (píng ān guŏ 平安果) in China. Gifting apples to loved ones is a uniquely Chinese Christmas tradition and symbolises your hope that you are bringing them peace.

Expats craving a hot roast for Christmas lunch or dinner can find specialty buffet options at upscale hotels, but Chinese consumers are more likely to be focused on food aesthetics rather than enjoyinng traditional Christmas tastes. In China, snacks like fruit, vegetables, biscuits and cheese can be found delicately arranged into shapes like Christmas trees, wreaths or snowmen.


3. Celebrating through travel

Chinese celebrating Christmas

Even though Christmas is not a public holiday in Mainland China, young Chinese still treat it as a great excuse to spread their wings and travel.

For travel inspo, Chinese Millennials and Gen Z flock to MaFengWo, a platform to share their experiences and recommendations. From Las Vegas and Zurich, to Edinburgh and Finland, MaFengWo shows that Chinese globetrotters enjoy travelling far and wide internationally to celebrate Christmas with all the bells and whistles.

But with the pandemic keeping many international borders firmly shut over the festive season, it’ll be a time where those Chinese who are keen to travel will do so domestically. Guangzhou was the most-searched destination in China for Christmas travel in 2019, with Jinan, Qingdao, Beijing and Changsha also making the top five.

Aside from intercity visits, Disney parks are a popular choice amongst Chinese. With changing decorations, memorabilia, costumes and activities, Disney offers the perfect costume celebration at Christmas.

Christmas in China

As 2020 draws to a close, and Chinese friends gift one another peace apples, the team at China Skinny would like to wish you a peaceful festive season, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We look forward to starting 2021 and the exciting new opportunities that it will bring for your business in China.

China has the largest climate variance of any country in the world, which means that weather conditions are an important factor for brands to account for.

Weather has the ability to literally rain on an ill prepared marketer’s parade given that it has the most significant impact on consumer behaviour after the economy.

Weather and temperatures influence everything from lifestyles and behaviour to the emotional state of consumers. Given this directly influences their purchasing decisions and willingness to spend, an understanding of China’s vast geographic differences is essential knowledge for anyone doing business in China. More on regional variations down below.

Taking these climate disparities into account, below are examples of how some categories are strongly influenced by climate and weather:

Chinese food selection by region
Food & beverage:

Historically, before trade covered long distances, the Chinese diet varied across regions based on what could be grown locally. This resulted in more wheat-based diets such as noodles and buns in the north, and rice in the south.  Many of these preferences still exist today.

The colder weather in the north also sees diets being heavier and heartier with meat and oil, versus the lighter and healthier diets in the south. While popular in the north and northwest, lamb meat isn’t popular in southern and eastern regions. Similarly, seafood isn’t as much of a preference outside of coastal areas.

Influenced by Russian and Korean neighbours, and longer winters indoors, northerners tend to consume more alcohol and have a stronger drinking culture, while southerners favour tea.

chinese fashion by region

Climate has a strong bearing on how much people rug up in China, with northerners and westerners typically having much thicker clothing in the winter. But even when the summer rolls around, Chinese consumers in the south tend to be much less conservative in their dress.

Size-wise, northerners are usually larger too, with the average Beijinger being taller and more likely to be overweight than people further south. The obesity rate in Beijing is over 25 percent, while the national average is less than 12 percent.

chinese beauty by region

With cold, dry winters in the north and northeast, consumer products like intense moisturizing creams and lip balms are essential items to combat dry and chapped skin on faces, hands and bodies. Similarly, higher pollution in the north and northeast is a consideration for skin care purchases.

Shampoos that add volume to limp hair are better marketed to consumers living in dry climates in the north of China, while shampoos which combat hair frizz in humid conditions are suited to southern and central regions. Lighter, less greasy moisturizers which contain SPF protection are also comfortable options for consumers living in China’s hotter southern areas.

chinese fitness by region
Fitness / outdoors:

People living in China’s eastern and southern provinces are able to get outside to exercise for more of the year, thanks to warmer weather conditions and lower pollution rates in the south. Athleisure clothing outdoor fitness apparel are great products to market in these regions, while indoor gym equipment may prove more popular in tier one cities in the north. With snow sports becoming increasingly popular in China, now is the time for ski-focused companies to market to China’s northern-based consumers, especially with the winter Olympics in Beijing just around the corner.


As people are more likely to exercise and get out in regions further south, health conditions in these areas can be quite different to those in other regions. For example, in the north, health impacts from sedentary lifestyles are more common, whereas exercise injuries and joint pains happen more where exercise is prevalent.

You might expect issues around common colds to be more common in the freezing north of China, but this isn’t always the case. People north of the Yangtze river in places like Beijing have government subsidised heating, so interiors are often much warmer than they are in cities like Shanghai.

However, with cities like Beijing that are polluted and dry, consumers in the north are more likely to purchase air purifiers and humidifiers to combat associated health risks.

Chinese tourists by region

The holiday choices of Chinese people are impacted by the local climate in the same way that they are all over the world.

Just as European living close to the Mediterranean are less likely to take big trips to these hotspots than tourists from northern Europe or the U.K., the same applies for Chinese to some degree.

While Australian beaches can look quite attractive to a Chinese person in the middle of a freezing northern winter, cuddling koalas may hold more appeal to someone living in subtropical Guangzhou. Although airline connections also have a big impact, our research at China Skinny has found that messaging and positioning of destinations can often be more resonant when regionally localised for what is important.


China’s Regional Weather Variations

china regions map

North China

Where: Beijing
Average high of 31°C during July (hottest month)
Average high of 2°C during January (coldest month)
Conditions: Pollution is the most significant weather factor. PM2.5 particles in the air can be six times above the level deemed safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency

Where: Tianjin
Average high of 31°C in July (hottest month)
Average high of 2°C during January (coldest month)

Northeast China

Where: Harbin
Average high of 27°C in July (hottest month)
Average high of -12°C in January (coldest month)
Conditions: Freezing winds coming in from Siberia

East China

Where: Shanghai
Average high of 31°C during July (hottest month)
Average high of 7°C during January (coldest month)

Where: Hangzhou
Average high of 31°C during July (hottest month)
Average high of 7°C during January (coldest month)

Where: Suzhou
Average high of 31°C during July (hottest month)
Average high of 7°C during January (coldest month)

South-central China

Where: Changsha
Average high of 33°C during August (hottest month)
Average high of 9°C during January (coldest month)

South China

Where: Guangzhou
Average high of 31°C during July (hottest month)
Average high of 18°C during January (coldest month)
Conditions: Humid. Average of 233-276mm of monsoon rainfall (summer, from April to September). Both Hong Kong and Guilin have more rainfall. Typhoon season is from May to December, but particularly July to September, and wind can reach 194km/h.

Where: Shenzhen
Average high of 31°C during July (hottest month)
Average high of 18°C during January (coldest month)

Where: Sanya
Average high of 32°C during July (hottest month)
Average high of 26°C during January (coldest month)

Southwest China

Where: Kunming
Average high of 25°C during July (hottest month)
Average high of 15°C during January (coldest month)

Where: Chongqing
Average high of 33°C during August (hottest month)
Average high of 10°C during January (coldest month)

Where: Chengdu
Average high of 30°C during August (hottest month)
Average high of 9°C during January (coldest month)

Northwest China

Where: Xi’an
Average high of 32°C during July (hottest month)
Average high of 4°C during January (coldest month)

To understand the needs and wants of any Chinese demographic, it helps to see the big picture to understand how to connect with your target consumer at a meaningful level. That’s where we come in.

At China Skinny, our team of local and international experts are your eyes and ears on the ground. Having worked with 200 international brands across 64 industries, we’re uniquely positioned to help you understand how to market your products and services in China. Get in touch today to learn more about how we may be able to assist.


With China anticipated to become the world’s most valuable ‘silver’ market as of 2050, brands need to understand how marketing to elderly consumers in China differs from marketing to Chinese Millennials and Gen Z.

To make this process easier for you, China Skinny has pieced together an overview of some of the major differences between the two consumer segments:

Elderly/’Silver’ Consumers Millennial/Gen Z Consumers
What proportion of China’s population do they make up? By the end of 2019, China’s elderly population was 254 million.
While they currently make up around 18 percent of the total population, the number of elderly is expected to rise to a third of China’s population by around 2050.
In 2019, Millennials (1980-1994) and Gen Z (1995-2009) consumers made up close to 40 percent of China’s population. This means their consumer segment has around 560 million people. Most (around 60 percent) live in urban areas.
With a population of 149 million people, China’s Gen Z is the largest of its demographic group in the world.
Where do these consumer groups live in China? Around 60 percent of silver citizens live in urban areas and the amount of active seniors (between 60 and 69 years old) in these areas is estimated to be close to 90 million. Close to 60 percent of China’s millennials and Gen Z consumers live in urban areas.
“Chinese millennials – particularly those with the best talent, skills and education – mostly prefer the big cities, like Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, because there are more opportunities,” said Guo Xin, President and CEO of Career International.
How many are online? Elderly Chinese make up approximately five percent of the total online Chinese population as of March 2020. That accounts for around 45 million people – small by Chinese standards, but they have become the fastest growing segment which has accelerated since Covid-19. China has an estimated 400 million  millennials and 150 million Gen Zers, making the group around 550 million combined. Each month around 60 percent of Chinese millennials shop online. That translates to around 240 million people.
What platforms do they use? Elderly Chinese use apps like Ximalaya, WeChat, Douyin (TikTok), QQ, Taobao, Pinduoduo,, Tangdou and others on a daily basis. Super apps like WeChat, Alipay, Taobao and Douyin are driving Gen Z mobile use across a range of activities. They drive many of the niche apps that specifically target their generation such as Bilibili videos or Keep fitness.
Young consumers reportedly spent the most time (24 percent) on video apps (excluding short videos), followed by apps that were used for instant messaging, music and short videos.
What features do they prioritise in products? 84 percent of elderly consumers said they now purchase higher quality products and services than previously, while 79 percent agreed they need to try new products and services to stay up to date.
Of the elderly respondents, 18 percent mentioned safety as their primary concern when buying products specially made for seniors, while 26 percent of their children stated this factor as the most important.
Amongst 3,700 Chinese millennials surveyed in 2020, close to 50 percent said that ‘practicality and function’ was the most important factor in choosing which product to buy.
Following this, the next most important factors were brand (23.1 percent), price (16.2 percent) and packaging design (10.9 percent).
Of those who spent rather than saved their discretionary income, 34.5 percent prioritised investing in themselves through classes, while 31.7 percent said they preferred spending it on improving their current living conditions.
What is their financial situation like? Around 88 percent of elderly in China were reported to have a pension. Given the average annual per-capita pension of $5,783 USD (38,000RMB) of urban seniors and their average consumption expenditure of $3 957 USD (26,000RMB), as a whole, China’s urban silver consumers have considerable purchasing power.
In 2019, the China Report on the Development of the Silver Industry estimated that the spending potential of China’s elderly population would increase from 4 to 106 trillion RMB by 2050, making it one third of China’s GDP.
Around 63 percent of Chinese millennials said they had additional income streams aside from their full-time salaries. After rental costs, Chinese millennial men reported that they spent the most on the food and beverage category, while women said they spend the most on daily necessities.
Of those millennials surveyed, 91.8 percent said they had either used credit cards or online consumer credit services like Alipay Huabei and JD Baitiao.
Gen Z consumers in China are said to be reliant on their parents for income. In spite of this, Chinese 20-year-olds are quickly becoming the top consumers of luxury brands and will soon become the top consumption group in the country.
Do they have any specific preferences as a consumer group? In a 2019 survey, over 90 percent of elderly said that they believed children and elderly should have separate living arrangements, reflecting a change to the traditional beliefs of mainland seniors.
Elderly consumption trends to watch include tourism spending growth, demand increase for elderly universities, growing health consciousness amongst silver citizens, and more active use of the internet by seniors.
Amid the pandemic, Chinese Gen Z consumers have demonstrated a strong desire to support local brands, ranging from food products to sportswear and cosmetics.
With rising disposable incomes amongst Gen Z and a decline in marriage rates in China, marketers should note how these factors influence young Chinese consumer lifestyles. China’s millennial consumers are generally accepting of online social networking, second-hand luxury goods and sustainable development. Chinese Gen Zers are comparatively more dependent than millennials when it comes to being connected to social media on their mobiles.


To really understand different consumer groups in China and how this translates to your marketing strategy, get in touch with China Skinny.