Young consumers splashing out on health products
Afraid of losing her hair, a 19-year-old university student called Yali — not her real name — spent 2,400 yuan (US$365) on an imported hair-growth appliance earlier this month.
The “helmet-like” electronic device accounted for half her monthly spending and is just one of several popular health-related products on her shopping list.
Yali has joined a growing number of young Chinese who eschew fast food and entertainment products in favor of things like vitamin tablets, herbal beverages and neck massagers.
Although many doubt the efficacy of these products and services, more young people are enjoying the comfort they bring and are willing to pour big money into health.
“Maybe these things can’t cure illnesses, but at least they can remind me not to take my health for granted,” Yali said.
“The health-consumption fad mirrors their awareness of the importance of a health regimen,” said Zhao Ziqiang, chief operating officer of e-commerce business at Tongrentang Group, a renowned traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy.
Unlike previous generations, people born after 1990 are willing to spend more on preserving their health and keeping fit.
To attract more young consumers, the time-honored TCM brand has developed a batch of instant and inexpensive products, such as goji berry coffees, herbal tea bags and instant bird-nest soups.
“They all sell well,” Zhao said. Data from other major e-commerce platforms also shows young people are investing more in health.
During the “Double 11” shopping festival, health examination services, medical dressings, human papillomavirus vaccines and instant bird-nest soups were the most popular health-related products for consumers under 25 on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Tmall.
On JD Health, the health care subsidiary of tech giant JD.com, vaccine services and oral-health services increased by 20 times and 12 times compared with last year.
COVID-19 is also making young consumers more health-conscious. Zhang Wei, 32, said he has paid more attention to his immune system amid COVID-19 and has bought health-exam services for his parents and himself.