Y&R research finds it's cool to be a housewife in China - new 'Chinese Whispers' unveil emerging trends among 18-34 year olds and brand success

Chinese.jpgCaution, control, conspicuous consumption and women's aspirations to be a housewife are among the interesting revelations in Y&R China's research findings unveiled today in Shanghai. Conducted annually across China for over ten years, Y&R's proprietary Brand Asset Valuator (BAV) and qualitative eXploring, have identified 10 emerging trends that will impact brand and business success.

These emerging trends are all revelatory, many of them running counter to popular perception, and offer invaluable insights into how attitudes are changing toward brands and consumption in China.

"These are some less obvious discoveries gleaned from Y&R's own studies," explained Charles Sampson, CEO Y&R China. "We have focussed on 18-34 year olds, who have witnessed the opportunities and challenges of China's transformations from an early age. They keep amazing us with how they evolve. They continue to experience tremendous economic and cultural transformations that shape how they define themselves, their impact on society at large, and how they consume brands."

Some findings from the Ten Whispers include:

·       CHANGE: The move from urgency to caution

Newness is not as exciting as before. Change has been the constant and we are beginning to see a decline of interest in things new. They seem to be suffering from fatigue. Instead, people are beginning to want to slow down. They want to feel that they still have a part to play in society, just like yesterday, and the script is not getting changed too fast and too frequently.
Whispers.jpg·       WOMEN: It's cool to be a housewife

From holding up half the sky to holding up a happy home. From managing work to managing family. From arranging meetings to arranging flowers. Women now can choose, as much as men can choose. Among both women and men, there is a growing acceptance of women (or men) who quit their jobs to become house-makers. This trend is regarded not as a return to tradition but as progress. It's a show of self-determinism against the history when their mothers were driven out of the home into the public workforce alongside men. Women are nowadays more confident to reprioritize life over career and pursue what they want.

·       RULES:  From freedom to control

The traditional fear of chaos (乱) is coming back.  We used to believe breaking rules created advantages - "heroes were born out of chaos". When nutritional food was found to be poisonous and bullet trains derailed, many promises of change proved to be fantasy. It's become clear that breaking rules can hurt everyone.  As they re-evaluate what's right and what's wrong against an ever-moving background, they pine for direction and guidance.

·       WEALTH: Earn it, flaunt it

Money has come out of the closet. Traditionally, 'gentlemen don't care about money'. After 30 years of economic reform, money has found its admirable place in people's minds and conversations. They are more comfortable expressing their desire for wealth and admiration for those who have earned it. Money is a sign of earned success, and has earned associations with positive values like entrepreneurship, talent, the intelligence of self-made men.

Tips.jpg·       HAPPINESS: From success to balance

People are realizing that 'success' alone doesn't make them happy. The ability to manage a balanced life is more important for a sense of satisfaction. 'Success' is about money, but the power of money is eroded. Common belief was that money helped escape the dangers of poor quality, but many products have proven to be substandard copycats or fake.  One cannot rely on money alone to be happy, one has to try to strike a balance.

·       BRANDS: From Badge to Buddy

This generation of consumers is unique in that they were the first to be re-exposed to branding, as commercial marketing returned after a long period of forced absence. As they grew up with brands, their relationship with brands matured. While they used to look to brands as proof they were keeping up, they now want a more intimate relationship with brands, one that is more based on knowledge, trust and companionship. Brands have to earn the privilege of getting close to people, by offering something of value, so that they are passed on to other people, just like a great whisper.

Added Kaiyu Li, Head of Planning Y&R China, "We based the analysis on Y&R's proprietary brand and insight tool BrandAsset® Valuator and qualitative eXploring. By comparing BAV data diachronically and conducting a series of conversations with consumers, we hear "whispers" about how their attitudes are shifting and what they are looking for from brands. Whispers arouse curiosity. Whispers bond relationships. Whispers go around. Whispers build brands."

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