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2022 China's 163 Million New Middle-Class Insight Report

With the development of China’s social economy, a new group of people defined as the “new middle-class” is emerging. They are mainly between 25 to 40 years old, live in third-tier cities or above, and have more than 1,000 yuan online purchasing power and medium to high online consumption intention.

According to QuestMobile’s latest “2022 New Middle-Class Insight Report”, the new middle class continues to grow, and as of July 2022, the new middle class reached 163 million users, representing a 13.7% increase in the entire network, and a 15.6% YoY increase.

At the same time, the social and economic status of the post-90s generation is rising, and more people have reached the middle-class standard of living and promoting the growth of high consumption power. The rise of the post-90s generation has increased the willingness to spend online, and the proportion of users with high online purchasing power in the new middle class has increased by 2.4% YoY, reaching 16.4%. 22.1% of the new middle-class users own a house and a car, and the number of users planning to buy a car has reached 29.26 million, indicating that the economic power is relatively high, and real estate and cars are regarded as symbols of wealth.

In order to meet their daily needs, the new middle-class people use a variety of apps, and the length of APP usage time and the number of APPs used exceed the average level of the entire network. The monthly average use time is as high as 180.9, while the monthly average usage of APPs per user is as high as 33.33, which is far above the average usage of 29.9 APPs per user on the entire network.

The new middle-class group is very addicted to the Internet, and their peak hours of activity even exceed the average level of the entire network, and they like a variety of leisure and entertainment services. Apps with prominent entertainment attributes are more commonly used by the new middle-class group, the apps with a TOP5 monthly average usage time are Honor of Kings (126.8 minutes), Douyin (115.2 minutes), Game for Peace (112.6 minutes), NetEase News (107.4 minutes) and Bilibili (103.3 minutes). Long and short videos, popular competitive games, and interactive social applications are the most frequently used applications by new middle-class groups

Characteristics of Online consumption by the new middle-class group

  • Intelligent life: Striving for a smart quality of life, early adopters of high-tech products

  • Automobile consumption: Main users of new energy vehicles, inclined toward new influence brands

  • Self-improvement: Pay attention to physical fitness and own knowledge and culture to ensure high competitiveness

  • Financial awareness: High risk-awareness and financial concept, striving for financial freedom

1. Intelligent Life

As early adopters of high-tech products, people in the new middle-class pursue a “smart” quality of life and are easily attracted by innovative ideas, have strong purchasing power for home appliances, and love and pay close attention to the Metaverse. According to QuestMobile data, the number of active users in the smart device industry in the new middle-class group has increased by 42.6% YoY to 65.71 million, and the active penetration rate of smart devices is higher than that of the general population

2. Automobile Consumption

Automobile consumption is the main expenditure area of the new middle-class group, and its active scale has grown rapidly, reaching a double-digit growth rate, and the number of active users in the automotive information industry has increased to 27.73 million in July 2022. The smart car industry's monthly active user in the automotive-related industry has the highest growth, with a YoY increase of 77.4%, nearly 6 million. This indicates that new-energy vehicles are the main audience of the new middle-class group, and they tend to incline towards new influential brands, including mid-to-high-end brands. Due to their high dependence on Internet information, the new middle-class mainly obtains information through online channels, and top KOLs in the car category are the main sources of information. Based on this, automotive companies have also taken advantage of this active characteristic to increase their investment in online advertising.

3. Self-improvement

To stay competitive in the workplace, the new middle-class groups are learning new skills through online channels such as educational apps and even from KOLs to improve their knowledge and cultural quality. At the same time, they are also good at utilising APP + live broadcasts + video lessons to carry out daily fitness exercises to improve their health. According to QuestMobile data, the number of active users of sports and fitness in the new middle-class group increased by 16.8% YoY to 12.47 million.

4. Financial Awareness

The new middle-class groups have a strong awareness of risk and financial management concepts while pursuing financial freedom, at the same time, focusing on the information of financial management knowledge through daily information browsing. They have a greater preference for high-risk and high-return investments. The new middle-class group who are good at relying on the Internet can meet their diverse financial management needs through Internet finance. Up to 58.6% of the new middle-class groups are users of “investment and financial management” related content, while 24.8% are from third-tier cities. Meanwhile, the TOP3 monthly average usage time of financial management APPs are Sina Finance (289.3 minutes), Flush Stock (239.2 minutes) and East Money Information Co (164 minutes).

Marketing strategies

Major brands’ marketing strategies will revolve around content, consumption and emotional marketing, while online multi-channel and diversified marketing will be the key.

  • Content marketing: As the new middle-class groups rely mainly on the Internet and obtain information through online channels, the time spent on content platforms has also grown rapidly. Short video content and live broadcast are the main ways to reach users. As the new middle-class groups like to browse formatted content, brands can increase marketing investment from major KOLs to improve reach.

  • Experiential marketing: New middle-class groups with high online purchasing power pay more attention to the shopping experience in addition to cost-effective quality. By creating an interactive experience with rich and diverse scenarios, car companies can forge close connections with car owners and potential buyers, and popular business districts have become gathering places for new energy vehicle brands.

  • Emotional marketing: Harmonious customer relationships and high-quality service can improve the user’s loyalty to the brand, and the refined private traffic operation of the brand successfully attracts new middle-class groups. To attract the attention of the new middle-class group, the brand mainly creates connected emotions and accurate user group cognition by meeting the spiritual needs of users.

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