Herman Trend Alert: The Rise of China's Millennials


Look around an airport anywhere in the world and you will see them in greater numbers than ever before. China's Millennials, people born after 1990, are traveling the world to learn, to work, and to play. They're attending foreign universities and colleges in record numbers and visiting places their parents only saw in images.

Called by some demographers the post-1990 generation, they are between the ages of 13 and 22, teenagers and young adults. They are expected to be better educated that their predecessors and significantly more media savvy as well. They have always had the Internet to keep them informed and that will result in these young people having much more confidence in their home 
country and its brands and products. (This latest scare about "cancer villages" not withstanding; it will be forgotten by most very soon.)

Moreover, the rise in the recognition of Chinese brands may indicate the end of the attraction previous generations have had for foreign brands and products. Not good news for some companies in the United States and elsewhere.

They were born in huge numbers: overall, 20 million children were born in China each year of the 1990s. To put that enormous number in perspective, that's about five times the number of children born in the US every year during the same decade.

This Post-1990 Generation is also the first to grow up amidst relative prosperity, at a time in which incomes have been rising, and the expectation that one could "get ahead" has been high.

The implications and opportunities presented by this population segment are extraordinary. In just the 1990s, China produced 200 million consumers. By the year 2020, they will range in age from 21 to 30. Clearly, they will drive much of the China's consumption. 

Why? Because they're already spending.  

Many members of this post-1990 generation already have developed a taste for consumerism. One survey of city-dwellers in this generation found that some 64 percent of them had a credit card, and the members of middle-school age claimed they had an average of USD$61 a month in "pocket money". This finding represents a five-fold increase from a survey conducted 10 years ago.

China's Millennials are upwardly mobile, hip, confident, and have money to spend.  Marketers who ignore them will be overlooking a very lucrative segment of buyers. On the other hand, we will see wise marketers developing specific products to appeal to their increasing pocketbooks.

Special thanks to Innovaro.com for bringing this issue to our attention.

Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic  
business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and  
professional speaker. 



Joyce Gioia is a Strategic Business Futurist concentrating on workforce and workplace trends. Joyce is President and CEO of The Herman Group, a firm serving a wide range corporate, trade association and governmental clients on an international basis.

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