We often talk about China’s Millennials as the most important consumer group in the world, and the impetus behind China’s consumption-driven growth. Yet, there is a subsection of those Millennials who drive more than half of sales, and an even greater share of foreign products and services: women.
Chinese women assume the role of CFO in most households and have the ultimate say for most purchases.
Although Chinese women do 2.5 times more unpaid care work than men do, China’s one-child families and culture of grandparents caring for children means Chinese women’s careers are usually less impacted by childbearing than they are in other countries.
Chinese women account for 41% of China’s GDP, the highest portion of any region in the world according to McKinsey. They hold a higher percentage of senior management positions than American and European females. Their contribution to household income has jumped from 20% when China opened up in 1979 to 50% in 2013. Although they are under-represented in Beijing’s highest ranks, they are finding success at the highest level in business, with eight of the top-10 richest self made women globally hailing from China. And they have contributed significantly more than men to China’s trophy cabinets for international sports in everything from tennis to football and even rugby.
Females are the primary decision makers in categories where imported brands are traditionally stronger, such as premium food and beverage, health, baby products and luxury goods and services. Two-thirds of Chinese cross-border shoppers on Tmall Global are women. Some have estimated that women travellers accounted for as much as 64% of China’s international tourists in the first half of last year. Even Chinese ladies who drink beer consume a proportionately higher amount of foreign brands than their male counterparts.
Yet, not all of China’s statistics about females are so positive. Last week, Rebecca Kanthor wrote an interesting piece exploring feminism in China, profiling six women and how old habits die hard, particularly in China’s rural and elderly generations.
Like any consumer segment in China, understanding China’s female consumers, where they have come from and their aspirations, will mean the greatest likelihood of resonating with them on their purchase journey. China Skinny can assist with that. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.