Generation Z－consumers born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s－have become the backbone of this year's Singles Day shopping festival and exhibited huge enthusiasm for homegrown products, industry analysts said.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD said trendy and new categories of products favored by Gen Z surged 300 percent year-on-year in the first four hours of the final promotion, which kicked off at 8 pm on Wednesday. The number of Gen Z who purchased clothes on JD's online marketplace was 3 times that of last year.
The number of the post-1990 generation accounted for more than 50 percent of total consumers in health-related consumption, including fitness, nutrition supplements, image management and sleep improvement, with sales of protein powder skyrocketing nearly 10 times in the first four hours, according to JD.
Meanwhile, sales of time-honored brands increased by 105 percent on a yearly basis during this year's shopping festival, with first- and second-tier cities witnessing the fastest growth in homegrown commodities.
The guochao trend－the rise of homegrown brands that weave Chinese cultural elements into their design or branding－is gaining popularity among young consumers, experts said.
In addition, overseas sales of domestic sportswear brand Erke rose by over 700 percent during the shopping gala, said Tmall, the business-to-customer site operated by Alibaba. Homegrown small household appliances, furniture, hanfu or traditional Chinese apparel, gained traction among overseas consumers.
Bai Ming, deputy director of the international market research department at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the young generation of Chinese is emerging as mainstream consumers and becoming the driving force in the growth of domestic brands due to their higher disposable income, as well as personalized and diversified demand.
Bai added the purchase potential of Gen Z is enormous, and the rapid growth of domestic brands also showcased the continuous enhancement of China's manufacturing capacities.
Young Chinese shoppers are gradually growing a sense of national pride, and Gen Z are no longer seeking high-end foreign brand names purely for social status, said Kenny Yao, a director at global consulting firm AlixPartners in Shanghai.
"They are looking for products that can truly represent their identity, meaning it is more challenging than ever to maintain brand loyalty among this group," Yao added.
Market consultancy iResearch said Gen Z consumers were born after the emergence of the internet. They have grown up in a virtual and diverse environment, and formed a strong sense of individuality, triggering the willingness to pay for the additional value of products, and stay on top of trends in society.
The consultancy also said Gen Z consumers pay equal attention to entertainment and learning, have high consumption abilities, and prefer to buy fashionable, trendy products recommended by key opinion leaders. Moreover, they favor high-end skin care and cosmetics.
Zhao Ping, deputy head of the Beijing-based Academy of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said young Chinese are more globally minded and enthusiastic about homegrown products compared with previous generations.
Gen Z consumers also have higher recognition of Chinese traditional culture and are fully confident in China's new development paradigm, said Zhao, adding they are set to become the mainstay of China's next powerful consumption group.