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Marketing to Teens - China - September 2016

“Chinese teenagers are more digitally savvy than older generations. This makes them feel globally connected and gives them easier access to information and knowledge, but also exposes them to many distractions from school work and places them under a high level of competitive pressure. Coupled with an inability to handle stress, some lack the motivation to achieve autonomy and independence. Having parents make most of decision for them and spending most of their time studying inhibit maturity. Moreover, raised by parents who believe in traditional collectivism but also influenced by Western individualist culture, Chinese teenagers are conflicted by a desire to conform to tradition but also pursue individual passions.”

– Alina Ma, Senior Research Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • The balance between teen-liked and parent-approved
  • No longer happy with traditional ways of studying
  • On their way to independence but not there yet
  • New minds are diverse: becoming bold vs sticking to the comfort zone
  • Rise of the girl economy

Chinese teenagers have limited purchasing power, especially those aged 13-15, and therefore rely heavily on parents when it comes to purchasing products. Parents and teenagers have different purchasing values and priorities, ie health benefits vs sensorial excitement.

0 Study is still teenagers’ top priority so incorporating interactive, entertaining and relaxing elements into products can appeal to them. The majority have hobbies outside school, some of which are niche activities. ‘Fun’ is most desired and it is crucial for brands to convey this through products and communications.

Compared to older cohorts, Chinese teenagers are more globally connected and confident. Most are well protected by their parents and are less worried about the future, but they are mentally immature and incapable of managing stress or solving problems in life. As a result, not all of them want to be independent and some prefer following in their parents’ footsteps.

Given that teenagers are the next generation of consumers, it is essential for brands to understand their preferences, values and life pursuits. This Report looks into Chinese teenagers’ beverage usage frequency, preferences towards beverage tastes, snacking preferences, packaging features that trigger purchase, their favourite leisure activities and attitude towards life.

This Report can help local and overseas brands understand how to interact with and attract these future Chinese consumers and develop products and communication that can effectively appeal to their unique and emerging needs and therefore drive sales.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this report
        • Definition of category users
        • Executive Summary

            • Teenagers’ beverage and snacking preferences
              • Beverage choice down to either parents or teenagers themselves
                • Figure 1: Drinking frequency of packaged drinks, June 2016
              • Teenagers’ preferred product sensorials: chilled, milky and sweet
                • Figure 2: Preferred beverage tastes, June 2016
              • Good opportunities for snacks in hunger-filling occasions
                • Figure 3: Preferred snacks across different occasions, June 2016
              • Packaging plays a big role in purchase
                • Figure 4: Preferred packaging features of snacks and beverages, June 2016
              • Teenagers’ leisure preferences
                • Teenagers spending more on hobbies, playing online and relaxing
                  • Figure 5: Favourite leisure activities presented by classification, June 2016
                • Teenagers’ attitudes and pursuits
                  • New minds fitting in the traditional world
                      • Figure 6: Agreement (including strongly agree and somewhat agree) on different statements about attitudes towards life, June 2016
                    • Three types of teenagers
                      • What we think
                      • Issues and Insights

                        • The balance between teen-liked and parent-approved
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • No longer happy with traditional ways of studying
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • On their way to independence but not there yet
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • New minds are diverse: becoming bold vs sticking to the comfort zone
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                                • Rise of the girl economy
                                                  • The facts
                                                    • The implications
                                                    • Teenagers overview

                                                      • Demographic overview
                                                        • Two in five teenagers are not the only child
                                                          • Figure 7: Percentage of teenagers who are only child or not, by city, June 2016
                                                        • Teenagers have more disposable allowance
                                                          • Figure 8: teenagers’ allowance per week, by life stage, July 2016
                                                          • Figure 9: teenagers’ allowance per week, 2015-16
                                                        • Trends in Teenagers’ Lifestyles
                                                          • Growing up in a ‘supernanny’ state
                                                            • Becoming ‘unchained’ consumers after entering college
                                                            • The Consumer – What you need to know

                                                              • Beverage choice made by parents and teenagers
                                                                • Occasional needs leading to snack food choice
                                                                  • Packaging contributing much to purchase
                                                                    • Leisure activities becoming more important and diverse
                                                                      • Three types of teenagers in China
                                                                      • Beverage Consumption Frequency

                                                                        • Beverage choice: made by teens or their parents?
                                                                          • Figure 10: Drinking frequency of packaged drinks, June 2016
                                                                        • Bottled water: mass or premium?
                                                                          • Advanced functions can lead yogurt to replacing milk
                                                                            • Plant protein drinks are yet to become popular among teenagers
                                                                              • Figure 11: Product examples of premium plant protein drinks, China, 2016
                                                                          • Beverage Taste Preferences

                                                                            • Ideal drinks: chilled, milky and sweet
                                                                              • Figure 12: Preferred beverage tastes, June 2016
                                                                            • Light flavour is less popular among teenagers
                                                                              • Different flavour preferences across ages, genders and allowances
                                                                                • CSD are loved due to sweet, chilled and fizzy sensorials
                                                                                  • Figure 13: Preference for selected beverage tastes (comparison against average), by different types of CSD consumers, June 2016
                                                                                • Fruit bits can elevate PPD’s image and taste
                                                                                  • Figure 14: Preference for selected beverage tastes (comparison against average), by different types of PPD consumers, June 2016, June 2016
                                                                                  • Figure 15: Examples of products with self-heating packaging
                                                                              • Snacking Preference

                                                                                • Snack foods consumption: for hunger filling or indulgence?
                                                                                    • Figure 16: Preferred snacks across different occasions, June 2016
                                                                                  • Snack bars as energy booster have strong growth opportunities in hunger-filling occasion
                                                                                    • Big love for chocolate
                                                                                      • Figure 17: Product examples of chocolate with oat or fruits, Global, 2016
                                                                                    • Making instant noodles as a real meal
                                                                                      • Figure 18: Product examples of instant noodles with real ingredients, Global, 2016
                                                                                  • Attractive Packaging Features

                                                                                    • Packaging playing a big role in purchase
                                                                                      • Figure 19: Preferred packaging features of snacks and beverages, June 2016
                                                                                    • Unique shape can win teenagers’ hearts
                                                                                      • Attractive on-pack features: liveliness, fun and novelty
                                                                                        • Figure 20: Product examples of cute cartoon characters on packaging, China, 2016
                                                                                      • Game and animation characters for boys, celebrities for girls
                                                                                        • Figure 21: Preferred packaging features of snacks and beverages, by gender, June 2016
                                                                                      • Packaging preferences differ across cities
                                                                                      • Favourite Leisure Activities

                                                                                        • A passion for niche activities
                                                                                          • Figure 22: Favourite leisure activities in word cloud, June 2016
                                                                                        • Playing online, a key leisure activity in teenagers’ life
                                                                                          • Figure 23: Favourite leisure activities presented by classification, June 2016
                                                                                        • Seeking relaxation
                                                                                          • Desiring opportunities to travel
                                                                                            • Traditional leisure venues are not appealing enough
                                                                                              • Reaching different teenage groups through different channels
                                                                                              • Psychographic Overview

                                                                                                • Overall, confident in themselves
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Agreement (including strongly agree and somewhat agree) on selected attitudinal statements about self-confidence, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                • Personal development vs material fulfilment
                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Agreement (including strongly agree and somewhat agree) on selected statements about self-confidence, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                • Desire for maximum amusement
                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Agreement (including strongly agree and somewhat agree) on selected statements about pressure, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                • Not so independent or rebellious
                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Agreement (including strongly agree and somewhat agree) on selected statements about self-identity, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                • Less worried about the future
                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Agreement (including strongly agree and somewhat agree) on selected statements about future, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                • Gender differences still exist
                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Agreement (including strongly agree and somewhat agree) on selected statements about social life, by age, June 2016
                                                                                              • Consumer Segmentation

                                                                                                • Three types of consumers
                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Consumer segmentation based on their attitude towards life, June 2016
                                                                                                  • Self-motivated achievers (大赢家): seeking peer attention and expressing individuality
                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Consumer attitude towards self-confidence, by consumer segment, July 2016
                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Consumer attitude towards social life, by consumer segment, July 2016
                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Consumer attitude towards self-identity, by consumer segment, July 2016
                                                                                                    • Tuned inward (活在自己世界的人): making random friends is not as exciting as becoming a talent
                                                                                                      • Worried but connected (焦虑的社交人): looking for more interaction in their sedentary lives
                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Consumer attitude towards future, by consumer segment, July 2016
                                                                                                      • Appendix: Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                                                        • Methodology
                                                                                                          • Abbreviations

                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                          To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                          Marketing to Teens - China - September 2016

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