Jackson School Journal
of International Studies

Volume 3 Number 2 – Autumn 2012

Sherrie Hsu

Navigating the Dialectic of Materialism and Ideology

Emerging Youth Lifestyles in China

China’s rapid economic growth has generated much discussion about its high savings and low consumption rate. However, examining the market segmentation of various industries reveals a youth generation much more willing to consume. By drawing from sociological theories of consumption, this paper argues that Chinese youth are adapting their consumption habits to reflect new values of individuality and innovation and in turn generating a new Chinese culture of consumption. In order to understand the roots of this emerging consumer culture, it is necessary to understand the perceptions of Chinese youth of their own lifestyles. This paper discusses the changes in lifestyle that create new identities among Chinese consumers, the role of retailers in connecting consumer and supplier markets, and the effects of China’s incorporation into the global capitalist economy on consumption habits of Chinese youth, which in turn affects both China and the global market.
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