Consumerism in China has taken off drastically since about 2008 and China is expected to become the biggest online shopping market by 2015 in addition to the world’s biggest economy. Purchasing goods has never been more popular than before in China and the trend is only expected to increase over the next decade.
Prior to China’s drastic economic development as of 2008, which also happened to coincide with massive international exposure from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the idea of purchasing goods beyond necessity was very limited in China. China has faced tumultuous times throughout its history all the way throughout the 1970s when petty bourgeoisie lifestyles were pushed and it was really until the 1980s that people were able to turn their lives around and begin developing more industries and career opportunities.
As these industries and career opportunities grew they started to have a major impact on the local economy, resulting in an increase in peoples’ standard of living. The standard was enough for Chinese to eat more comfortable, live in better accommodations and perhaps was even enough to send families to higher education. This trend gradually increased throughout the 1980s into the 1990s when China started to become more export oriented and really took off in the early 20th century when the government took more actions that were geared towards major economic development in major cities in addition to eradicating poverty more rapidly.
These factors along with policies geared towards liberalization of China’s economy as well as opening to companies across the world to act as what is known as the world’s factory really helped Chinese build their economic means and gain a stronger foothold in the market where they are now able to allocate money beyond the necessities of life.
This is particularly strong with baby-boom generations within the last 5-10 years but even more so with their children. These parents feel it is their duty to give their children something they never got when they were younger now that they know what it means to have more money. And the result? Increased spending on goods, such as new phones, gaming consoles, jewelry, clothing, shoes and toys. In fact, according to statistics from the Taobao Index, most online shopping was geared towards these products in addition to bedding and makeup accessories. Purchases of luxury goods are rising rapidly in China as well and there is no stop in sight in the near future.
Consumerism is also more than meeting the necessities of life; it is also status. For a Chinese to show off their latest goods means they have moved up in society and have proved themselves as successful. Image of success is very important for Chinese and the easiest way for them to do that is through goods and luxury.
In terms of online consumerism, purchased products are on the rise in China and consumers are fascinated with the idea of having goods delivered right to their homes. Chinese now have more credit cards and access to computers than ever, which is also translating to freedom of purchases within the nation as well.