For Digital Marketing Professionals

College Students in China:

The Next Generation of Consumers

by David Bunzel / 2013

Why Read This Report


With 1.3 Billion people, China represents an alluring market to international brands looking for business growth opportunities.  Of significant interest and the subject of this report is the next generation of consumers, especially the ones that will have university educations and be the primary force of professional workers in the near future.  Universities in China now have an estimated 30 million students.  In addition, there are nearly 440,000 students from China at overseas universities, which likely will be affluent consumers in the future.

DigitalMediaIX conducted a study of students in Chinese universities in late 2012, asking them about the brands they prefer, the online and social media platforms they use, and how technology is having a growing influence in how they consume.  The findings provide valuable perspective on marketing and promotional strategies for the university student demographic, but will suggest trends for establishing plans for future digital media investment.


Additional Information

Consumer Generations
  • Lost Generation
  • Boom Generation
  • Enlightened Generation
  • Factors Influencing the Enlightened Generation
    • One-Child Policy
    • Open Door Economic Policy
    • Urban Shift
    • Emerging Middle Class
    • Government Investment in Higher Education
Chinese University Students
  • Domestic Students
  • International Students
  • Enlightened and Affluent
The Survey

Defining Social Media Platforms

Seven Social Media Platforms Used by University Students in China

  • QQ
  • Qzone
  • Sina Weibo
  • Youku-Tudou
  • WeChat (Weixin)
  • Tencent Weibo
  • Renren
  • Other Social Media Platforms
Defining a Digital Brand
Brands and Digital Media Engagement
Report Highlights and Sound Bites

Social Media Platform Metrics

Brand Categories Most Influenced by Digital Media

China Brand Categories and Digital Media Engagement

University Students and Digital Media Platforms

How Students in China Engage with Brands

Digital Brands and University Students
  • Brand Preference
  • Digital Media Engagement
  • Brand Digital Media Activity
DMIX Top 100 Digital Brands for Students in China–2012 (1-50)
DMIX Top 100 Digital Brands for Students in China –2012 (51-100)

China University Students’ Favorite Brands

Consumer Technology
  • Smart Phones
  • Laptop Computers
  • Media Tablets
  • Digital Cameras
  • Sports Shoes
  • Clothing Retailers
Soft Drinks
  • Carbonated Drinks
  • RTD Coffee/Tea
  • Candy
  • Fast Food
  • Snacks
Personal Care
  • Cosmetics
  • Family Cars
  • Luxury Cars

Converting Survey Results To Actionable Data

Quantifying Digital Media

Digital Media’s Share Of Ad Spend

Appendix A Survey Questions

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Photos Courtesy of UW-Madison Archives

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