Converging consumption values worldwide lead to a shift in marketing strategy

Group of young men and women traveling
American and Chinese Millennials are redefining the term “brand loyalty” through their heavy use of e-commerce. (g_stockstudio-Getty)

As consumer values come together, it may make more sense to adapt marketing campaigns by age, not region, new research shows.

Millennials exemplify this notion. For example, Chinese millennials are “sampling a diverse palette of global lifestyles,” according to a Tech Crunch article, and that means they’re expanding the way they buy goods.

“Many of the most successful international brands in China are those offering Chinese millennials an experience that contributes to a public identity creation—from something as seemingly mundane as sipping a latte at Starbucks, to participation in the global cultural zeitgeist through a Hollywood blockbuster,” the article states.

This isn’t so different from the way American millennials consume goods, the article adds. Still, companies need to understand the changing values and how they apply in specific countries, each of which has its own payment systems, population density, mobile vs. desktop computing use, offline options and consumption habits.

Chinese millennials are particularly apt to look to international travel as a way to show off their experiences. They make up 40% of outbound travel from China, and use social media to show their destinations, the article states.

American and Chinese Millennials are also redefining the term “brand loyalty” through their heavy use of e-commerce.

“In the past, brands served a twin-signaling purpose: they acted as a consumer-facing signal of product quality and a peer-facing signal of status,” the article states. “But for millennial consumers, product quality is often communicated through recommendations or reviews, and social status is increasingly communicated as a public expression of individuality. Taken together, this means ‘brand loyalty’ is no longer necessarily to the product itself, but rather to the app or company that curated that product offering.”

The article predicts that “the next great consumption story” will come from urban, lower-middle income markets such as Indonesia, India or parts of Africa and the Mideast because their consumption habits will be based more on logistics than values.