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What is the middle class in
? All along, research institutions have defined it based on annual household income.
In fact, “the middle class” does not refer to the true way of life of the middle class.
Before studying the middle class, we have also observed some individual consumption phenomena: for example, the post-95s and post-00s who do not have much working income have relatively strong consumption power; the youth in some small cities also have sufficient disposable income and unlimited consumption potential.
“I go to school in Nanjing, and I have six or seven thousand living expenses a month. There is no economic pressure at ordinary times. Basically, I want to buy what I want to buy. If you go out to play, you can ask your parents for a travel fund. But I don’t spend money indiscriminately. I can save 2000 yuan a month, buy a bag occasionally, and learn to speculate in stocks
——Beibei, born in 1995, student, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province
“My monthly income is about 7000, and my house loan is all paid by provident fund. So my disposable income is equal to my salary. Usually the biggest consumption expenditure is to buy clothes and pursue the stars, and all the remaining money is saved. About three times a year. The biggest expense this year is to buy a big Xinjiang UAV. Because I like to travel and record the scenery. “
——Xiaoye, post-90s, working in public institutions, Xianning, Hubei
It may be more representative to define the consumer middle class through the “quality of spending”. It is also more valuable for the consumer market to capture the changes in lifestyle, aesthetic taste and values of these new middle-class shopping carts.
In recent years, there are many kinds of consumption patterns, and overseas shopping is one of the typical middle-class consumption patterns. To a certain extent, the cross-border consumption group has higher consumption quality requirements and a wider range of information acquisition.
This time, DT finance and Amazon overseas shopping jointly released the 2020 new middle class cross border consumption insight report, which takes cross-border shopping consumption as the starting point to draw a consumption map of the new middle class.
If consumer behavior is used to define the new middle class, what kind of people are they?
If we look at the new middle class from the perspective of consumption, we will find that this is no longer a group of people that can be defined by fixed labels.
In the past few years, when you think about middle-class families, do you have such a picture in mind?
Behind this image, the middle class in people’s mind is automatically equated with middle age, well-educated, high-income and big cities.
But if we define the new middle class according to the standard of middle-class lifestyle consumption, these labels will be broken.
First of all, they are much younger than you think.
According to the “2018 white paper on China’s new middle class circle” released by Hurun Research Institute, the average age of the new middle class is 35. In related research, Wu Xiaobo channel defined the age threshold of young new middle class as under 35 years old.
Judging from consumption data, this threshold may have to be lowered by several years. According to the survey data released by the consumer content community and Amazon overseas shopping during the “black five” period in 2019, a considerable proportion of overseas shopping consumers are middle-aged people aged 35-44, accounting for 1 / 3 of the market; however, the people aged 25-34 are the main force of consumption of Haitao, supporting half of the middle-class consumption.
The 18-24-year-old post-95s and post-00s are also the main force of overseas shopping. If we take income as a measure, this is a group that will not be included in the middle class, but these young people can already be called the new middle class in the field of consumption.
Secondly, from the geographical point of view, the concept that middle-class consumers are mainly distributed in big cities is also worthy of further discussion.
More and more orders from small cities tell us that many of the new middle class don’t live in big cities. From the consumption situation of Amazon’s overseas purchase of black goods in the past few years, the proportion of consumers in the fourth tier cities has increased year by year, reaching 28% in 2019, second only to the first tier cities.
From the amount of money, the consumption power of the middle class in the third and fourth tier cities is surprisingly strong. According to the data of Amazon’s overseas purchase in 2019, although the top 10 cities in terms of total cross-border consumption are the first and second tier cities, the top 10 per capita consumption is the third and fourth tier cities, among which Fushun of Liaoning Province, Xingtai of Hebei Province and Guangyuan of Sichuan Province rank the top three.
This is a discovery worthy of savoring.
Friends who pay attention to the field of consumption should all know that the hot topic of discussion in recent years has shifted from consumption upgrading to sinking market. The two trends can be summed up as consumption classification – different circles have different consumption demands. We should distinguish the sinking market outside the five ring road and consumption upgrading.
The rapid rise of pinduoduo has further consolidated our stereotype of consumption power outside the five ring road. In such an environment, the middle-class consumers from the third and fourth tier cities, districts, counties and townships are somewhat neglected.
Therefore, through the portraits of cross-border consumers, we can roughly describe the basic characteristics of the new middle class: they are much more complex and rich than the inherent identity tags, including more young circles, and covering many small cities that have been ignored by us.
Behind the trend of consumption growth is the new scene of middle class lifestyle
We also want to know what kind of consumption preference these new middle-class people advocate and what kind of lifestyle they represent. Therefore, we will take the annual black five promotions as an example to see how cross-border shopping carts have changed in recent years.
And these changes in consumption level actually correspond to new scenes emerging in the middle class lifestyle.
First of all, it is “the consumption of body management of specialization”.
Judging from the rankings of the five consumer categories promoted by Amazon’s overseas purchase of black goods in the past five years, we find that the new middle class increasingly prefer and are good at polishing their ideal body and appearance with consumer goods.
From 2015 to 2019, during the five promotion periods of Amazon black, the ranking of beauty make-up and personal care rose all the way, and beauty makeup became the top 1 category in sales volume for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019.
This shows that people are more and more willing to invest more money and energy for beauty and personal care.
Xiaoxia, who works in a second tier city, believes that she can pursue separation in terms of clothing consumption, but not cosmetics and skin care products. “Because the bottles of skin care products and some cosmetics will be empty in a few months, we need to store more. Clothes take up a lot of space and can’t be worn a few times. What’s more, the right skin care products can make my skin better, and the beauty effect of make-up is also instant. I think it’s more cost-effective than buying clothes every day. “
From the past rush to buy brand clothing, to today’s preference for beauty and personal care, we can see that the main motivation behind the consumption of the new middle class has always been related to face, but now, they pay more attention to the state change from the inside to the outside. If you want to improve your state, the external decoration of clothes and accessories is not as good as a good look and make-up. The management and guidance of their own image can also help them improve their self affirmation and confidence more effectively.
If they dig more carefully, they will be more professional and meticulous in their management. The subdivision products of beauty care are more and more abundant, covering almost everything from eyes to lips, from neck to feet.
In recent years, the rise of the party, which is keen on scientific skin care, shows that consumers have a stronger research spirit in this matter. From external decoration to the hope that every inch of skin and hair can be kept in a better and more delicate state, “face consumption” has never disappeared. Only professional, meticulous and effective products can be favored by the middle class.
In the cross-border shopping cart of the middle class, this kind of meticulous operation of self-care also shows the rapid growth of “prevention oriented healthy consumption”.
From supplementary nutrition, anti-aging to oral care, products to avoid various health risks are becoming more and more popular.
During the black five year plan period in 2018, men’s multivitamins and grape seed nutrition, which are mainly whitening and antioxidant, entered the top 5 products with the fastest sales growth rate. In 19, the children’s electric toothbrush ranked the top 1 product in the black five sales growth.
Spending more on expensive but tiny details like teeth may be the most significant new trend in new middle class consumption in recent years.
In the two years of 2018 and 2019, the products with the fastest annual sales growth of Amazon overseas are water floss and electric toothbrush replacement brush head, both of which are related to the refined daily maintenance of oral cavity.
The popularity of health care products and dental care products shows that middle-class consumers are forming a deeper awareness and maintenance awareness of health. The deeper motivation of consumption is to pursue a better life in the future.
In addition to more professional, delicate and risk-based self-care, we found that in 2019, the new middle-class consumption also appeared a new trend, returning and reshaping the “spiritual pastoral consumption” of the home scene.
During the five promotion periods of Amazon black in 2019, the top three categories of annual sales growth rate are horticultural products, furniture and electronic digital.
Moreover, in the past four years, during the five promotion periods of Amazon black, including personal care appliances, household appliances, electronic games and other categories with the fastest growth in sales, they basically focused on home life.
Middle class consumers seem to be more and more obsessed with constructing a complete and beautiful life in the “home” environment. Raising green plants and gardening at home has become a popular home activity.
Mr. Tasha, a user of Zhihu, thinks that gardening has the power of healing: “when we try to live with seeds, and gradually notice every gesture of flowers and plants, as well as the unique flavor emitted in the soft light and shadow, we will feel more and more the lack of taste and dullness of the material life of local tyrants and gold, and the rough and harsh sound of the subway
Modern people live in a high-pressure working environment every day, often in a state of fatigue and anxiety. Therefore, people are more and more eager to construct an idyll opposite to the busy and fast-paced urban life in their own small world.
Whether it is through furniture, gardening supplies and household appliances to create a more comfortable living environment for themselves, or to buy electronic products and game machines to entertain themselves, it is the way that middle-class people hope to create a sense of daily life and ritual to massage themselves.
What are the differences in consumption among the new middle class in different cities?
As we mentioned earlier, cross border online shopping, as a way of consumption, is also popular among the new middle class in sinking markets such as third and fourth tier cities. This is different from our traditional impression that “the first tier city is the home of Haitao”.
In the past two years, the huge consumption demand of the sinking market has been gradually excavated into a blue ocean of consumption. We often think that the consumption habits of the vast sunken market and the first tier cities are not the same. So, are there really significant differences in consumption behavior between the new middle class in big cities and small cities?
Judging from Amazon’s overseas purchase of the products with the fastest growth year on year in various cities during the black five promotion period in 2019, the consumption trend of the new middle class in the first, second, third and fourth tier cities is convergence.
Among the middle-class consumers of different city lines, horticultural products and electronic products ranked first and second in sales growth, while watches, mobile electronics and other categories also ranked higher.
However, the middle class in the first and second tier cities, especially in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, prefer light luxury cosmetics and cars and accessories. Compared with the first tier cities, watch products are more popular in the second, third and fourth tier cities.
Judging from the top 10 products with the best sales in Amazon in different tier cities in 2020, cosmetics, personal care, small household appliances and watches are very popular in the first, second, third and fourth tier cities. However, relatively speaking, the categories involved in the first tier cities are relatively rich, and the electronic digital products, Yijie and other health products represented by the western data are also more sought after in the first tier cities.
Interestingly, the consumption of electric toothbrush as a typical tooth protection product has become a daily just needed consumption among middle-class people in different cities. Since the beginning of this year, the latest data of Amazon’s overseas purchase show that the two top selling products in the first and second tier are two different models of electric toothbrush heads, which also rank among the top 5 products in the third and fourth tier cities.
We realize that there is not much difference between the middle class in big cities and small cities in cross-border shopping consumption. Even when the life pace of the middle class in small cities is slower and they have more leisure time, their knowledge of consumption trends is no narrower than that of first tier cities.
From the perspective of the brands with the fastest growth rate during the five promotion periods of Amazon in 2019, there are many foreign style and even small minority middle and high-end brands in the middle-class shopping carts of the third and fourth tier cities, such as Marshall, a high-end audio brand, Delong, an Italian small household appliance brand with high appearance, and Danping pharmaceutical, a Japanese brand that focuses on maternal and infant products, and so on.
From the perspective of consumption frequency, the middle class in big cities and small cities is becoming more and more consistent. According to the data of Amazon overseas outsourcing, in 2019, the consumption frequency of users in Tier 1 to Tier 4 cities has increased by two times compared with that in 2016, and the consumption frequency of users in first tier cities is only 1.2 times of that in fourth tier cities, which is very close.
We have to admit that the development of the Internet has indeed flattened the information gap between different regions and different urban groups.
In terms of consumption, shopping carts of middle-class families living in first tier cities and small counties may look similar. For example, they all have electric toothbrushes from Amway bloggers, makeup that grows grass from little red books, and recently windy colored makeup, and game machines pushed by friends
The accelerated flow of information enables the middle class in different cities to face the same rich choices, and the situation of information asymmetry is gradually reduced.
In the past, there may have been great differences in the imagination of a better life within the middle class. However, the Internet splits this imagination from all aspects of life, so that people can share with each other online and Amway, and proofread each other. Therefore, we can see that the pursuit of the most affordable, cost-effective, and the most quality and happiness of life can easily become the common choice preference of the majority.
High quality brands and products that can really bring a better life always win the votes of middle-class consumers.
At the same time, with the demand of subdivided consumption field is gradually mined, people’s shopping cart can always reflect the difference in many details. That’s why we can always see them in Amazon’s overseas shopping store, which has 30 million overseas selections.
From this perspective, the new middle class does have a unified value judgment standard and lifestyle preference, but the so-called “standard” is always changing and updating. How to better understand these 300 million people, grasp the possible changes in the market in the future, and look at their shopping carts can never be wrong.
Author: he Shuyao; source: DT Finance (ID: dtcaijing), reprint has been authorized. Join the community: Cherry (wechat: 15240428449); business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246). high quality original selection column daily new product collection: Isee trends | editor’s | reader’s