Over the past few decades, China’s economic development has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and led to a thriving middle class. Families belonging to this social class generally have sufficient income to meet their basic needs – food, clothing and shelter – with an income available for additional consumption and savings. In 2000, the Chinese middle class represented only 3% of its population. In July 2022, the number of people belonging to the “new middle class” in China reached 163 million (source: QuestMobile ) representing 13.7% of the total population. This number is still a small portion of China’s 1.4 billion total population, but the new middle class is growing 15.6% year-on-year despite the impact of Covid and the foreign political situation. By contrast, the size of the middle class in the United States has shrunk: from 51% in 2001 to 50% in 2021 (and from 61% in 1971). The characteristics of the new middle class : Age: between 25 and 40 years old City where he lives: third level and above Consumer availability: medium and high availability to spend online Consumption capacity: online spending power greater than 1,000 CNY. In the case of Millenials (people born between 1990 and 1999) 16.4% are considered a user with a high online consumption capacity (spending more than 3,000 CNY online). Where is the new middle class in China? Undoubtedly in 1st tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, etc., but there is no shortage of other cities. Surprisingly, Chongqing and Suzhou rank ahead of Shenzhen and Chengdu in terms of middle-class employment.

Geographical distribution (in cities) of the new middle class in China

Distribuzione classe media cinese

Source: Questmobile

How to reach the new Chinese middle class online? The new middle class is tech savvy, so content-oriented social media like Douyin and Red (Xiaohongshu) have become one of their main sources of information and entertainment.

Tempo di utilizzo dei social media della classe media cinese

tempo di utilizzo dei social media della classe media cinese

Fonte: Questmobile

For example, the new Chinese middle class spends more than double the time (+ 107.8%) on RED ( Xiaohongshu ) than last year. The rapid growth is due to the fact that RED, as a lifestyle platform, has become the source of inspiration and research for people pursuing an improvement in the quality of life. This is why the middle class is particularly attracted to RED’s sparkling and authentic content.

To date, working with influencers on RED is one of the best strategies for testing the Chinese market.

In terms of pure usage time, Douyin is still the platform on which people spend most of their time, thanks to its particular form of entertainment that tends to make people forget how much time you are actually spending on the platform.
This makes it the perfect social network for advertising (we wrote an article about it, find it here )

To recap, when speaking to the Chinese middle class you have to take these factors into account:

  • Millennials have the greatest power spending: address your communication to them;
  • The middle class is looking for content that helps them improve their quality of life;
  • Use social media to promote your products with this social class.

Do you want to reach the middle class in China? Contact us to find out how to make the most out of your brand.

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