The only generation to feel the full impact of China’s One Child Policy, the generation born in the 1990s, is growing up.
Analysts at Credit Suisse have identified the defining characteristics of these young people, who benefited from a better education and quality of life than that of their parents.
This generation spends a lot of time online on their smartphone – more than three hours a day – checking it around four times an hour.
They describe themselves as independent people that love staying at home, which sounds pretty lonely.
Here’s the chart from Credit Suisse:
Credit Suisse puts these characteristics down to them being the only child of the family, and having had so much parental attention lavished on them (emphasis ours):
The number of new born babies in 1995-99 would be 17% lower than the level of 1985-89, and it only stabilised in the last few years. Therefore, most of the “post 90s”, particularly those born in cities, are the only child in the family. Also, the Chinese economy enjoyed very strong growth from the early 1990s (particularly after China’s WTO entry), so the “post 90s” grew up in a very prosperous environment, and as single children under the loving care of their parents.
So what does this mean for the economy? Well, for a start, companies that use mobile internet are grabbing share from traditional brands. The 1990s generation spends a huge amount of time on their smartphones and average around 50 apps each.
Credit Suisse says they are “the first generation of Chinese who would be willing to spend most of their money on services rather than goods” and are huge consumers of online video and home food delivery services.
The One Child Policy was put in place in 1979 after a population explosion in China which saw the country’s numbers almost double between the late 1940s and 1970s to almost 1 billion.
This post-90s group may well be the last to experience the full force of the law.
There have always been some exemptions to the rule, and it has been relaxed in recent years, bu China announced on Thursday it will lift its restriction completely as part of a strategy to shift the economy to more demand led growth.
All couples will now be allowed to have two children, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Text: Business Insider UK by Ben Moshinsky 29-10-2015