Mazars study reveals China’s consumers are shifting their lifestyle priorities to align with personal development goals

14 December 2021, Mazars, the international audit, tax and advisory firm, announces the release of its new report Chinese consumers in 2021: how priorities in lifestyle consumption are changing – A generational, gender and city-tier analysis.
  • Three-quarters of survey respondents say their lifestyle consumption has changed since the outbreak of Covid-19
  • In the post-pandemic economic environment, urban Chinese are focusing on experiences – whether they be fine dining, cultural events, sport, or further education – to enhance their lives

Published in partnership with Accor, Bulgari, Maserati, Remy Cointreau, and Noblesse, the study examines consumer lifestyle preferences among men and women across generations and cities and reveals some new trends that will define the Chinese consumer market in the coming years. This is the second report in this research series released by Mazars, the first being last year’s Chinese luxury brand consumers – A generational, gender and city-tier analysis.

From having to being

Based on original research, the report reveals that new categories of growth are emerging and with them, new opportunities. In the post-pandemic economic environment, urban Chinese are focusing on experiences – whether they be fine dining, cultural events, sport, or further education – to enhance their lives.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said their lifestyle consumption has changed since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the past year, the five major consumption categories have been experience (69%); wellness (47%); luxury goods (42%); further education (39%); entertainment and cultural life (31%). In the future, be that short-term or long-term, Chinese consumers will invest more on further education as well as cultural activities and entertainment. In addition, luxury goods are ranked fifth in terms of consumer preferences.

Promising market potential

The rapid development of China’s economy has shaped four quite different generations in just three or four decades. With the still enormous potential of the market in China and the evolvement of consumer values, consumers are preferring experiential consumption over material consumption. Brands should consider issues like how lifestyle labels explore a buyer’s deep needs and how high-end brands can attach spiritual meaning to their products.

Embracing the intangible in their own way

Luxury goods are taking a backseat to experience and wellness spending as consumers across all genders, generations and cities are shifting their spending habits on the intangible, but each cohort has adopted their own preferences.

Despite Covid-19, the travel boom has continued in 2021, and new first-tier city inhabitants traveling more. Nearly 80% of respondents who rank experiential consumption highly have spent on travel, vacation or luxury hotels over the past year (the vast majority of this would be domestic), which indicates that Chinese consumers are expecting travel to be a normal part of their life. Notably, Gen Xers were the major spenders on travel, with 82% ranking it first.

Wellness, ranking second to experiential spending, has been particularly favoured by Millennial men, with 75% indicating that they work out at a sports club, compared to 72% of Gen Zers.

The report also reveals a divergence in interests between men and women when it comes to spending on nightlife. 27% of men rank it higher than women (14%) and, unsurprisingly, as consumers get older they rank nightlife as less important. It is interesting to note that nightlife consumption in new first-tier cities and below is much higher than in first-tier cities.

Challenges ahead for brands

In addition to the shift to the intangible, we are also witnessing a shift in the types of products that consumers are interest in. Gender and generation have great implications for Chinese consumers’ spending on high-end products and the outbreak of Covid-19 has rearranged consumer preferences even further.

Electronic products have jumped to second preference over the past year, and it is Generation Z that is driving this change. In the future, jewellery and watches are expected to top consumers’ high-end product wish lists, up from fourth place currently. While Generation Z is only beginning to express their consumption ability, their future spending power should not be underestimated.

Dr. Laulusa affirmed the challenges brands will face in the future. She said, “It is predicted that Chinese consumer consumption behaviour will become increasingly intricate and complicated as society and the economy continue to change. For brands, it is undoubtedly a major challenge in the post-pandemic era to develop targeted and differentiated market strategies and to provide personalised and targeted products and services through different channels and platforms.”

The report was released during an event held jointly with the Fosun Foundation in Shanghai, China, on 14 December 2021. During a panel convening experts and thought leaders from Accor, Bulgari, Maserati, Mazars and the Fosun Foundation, participants shared their views and insights on consumer values in the post-pandemic era and the report, including: 

  • Julie Laulusa, Managing Partner of Mazars in China and a member of the Group Executive Board
  • Lei Yu, Managing Director and Chief Editor of Noblesse
  • Christophe Lauras, Senior Vice President Operations of Accor Greater China and President of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China
  • Jenny Cheah, President of Bulgari Greater China
  • Mirko Bordiga, Managing Director of Maserati China
  • Joann Cheng, Chairman and CEO of Lanvin Group and Global Partner of Fosun,

Click here to watch the replay.

Joann Cheng, Chairman and CEO of Lanvin Group and Global Partner of Fosun says, “This report reaffirms the diversity of the Chinese market - the differences in consumer backgrounds drives the development of a multi-level market. Due to Covid-19, the consumption patterns of Chinese consumers are being reviewed and remodeled.”

Dr. Julie Laulusa, Managing Partner of Mazars in China and a member of the Group Executive Board says, “We hope this report will provide in-depth insights for the lifestyle industry and other industries in the post-pandemic era, giving them both a better understanding of the consumer psychology and the ideal lifestyles of the different generations in China today and also exploring development strategies targeted at consumers in different generations, of different genders and in different cities.”

Click here to download the full report. 



The research was conducted in the form of online questionnaires in the second quarter of 2021. The focus included questions on consumer lifestyle consumption in the past year, changes in lifestyle consumption since the pandemic, expected lifestyle consumption in the next two years and the ideal lifestyle in the future. The researchers eventually obtained 4,078 effective responses which Mazars broke into four groups: Generation Z (aged under 24), Millennials (25 to 38), Generation X (39 to 54), and Baby Boomers (55 to 73). 


Lorraine Hackett, Group Brand & Communications Director,
Mazars: // +44 (0)20 7063 4435

About Mazars  

Mazars is an internationally integrated partnership, specialising in audit, accountancy, advisory, tax and legal services*. Operating in over 90 countries and territories around the world, we draw on the expertise of more than 42,000 professionals – 26,000+ in Mazars’ integrated partnership and 16,000+ via the Mazars North America Alliance – to assist clients of all sizes at every stage in their development.

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About Noblesse

Noblesse is the top luxury lifestyle magazine in China, exclusively catering to China’s affluent society. With the most accurate-target distribution model, the most transparent circulation, effective and real online traffic, a solid and substantial VIP database, we are committed to providing the best content products, the best readership service and the best experience to the elite population in China.