In China, the wealthiest millennials are showcasing their achievements through unique and understated status symbols, moving away from traditional ostentatious displays of wealth. As millennials, those in their late 20s to early 40s, reach significant life milestones, many are prioritising career progress and unique experiences over conventional symbols of success like starting families or buying homes.

While wealthy millennials in the US often splurge on material items such as high-end coffee makers, luxury laundry rooms, and pets, their Chinese counterparts are investing in what's known as "Laoqianfeng" or "silent luxury." This new trend involves expensive products that aren't immediately noticeable but signify a sophisticated taste and deeper values. Here are the top five luxury status symbols for Chinese millennials:

1. Brands with Purpose

Rather than chasing the latest designer releases, wealthy Chinese millennials are opting for pre-loved luxury goods and second-hand pieces. Despite traditional Chinese superstitions associating used items with bad luck, these unique pieces are now seen as a way to express individuality and personality through fashion.

Moreover, this generation is keen on supporting sustainable brands that stand for a cause. Independent luxury brands offering authentic products made from eco-friendly materials and reflecting cultural heritage are highly sought after. These choices reflect a broader trend of valuing sustainability and ethical production. By purchasing from brands that promote sustainability and cultural heritage, millennials feel they are contributing positively to society while maintaining their luxurious lifestyle.

2. Solo Travelling

Travel preferences among rich Chinese millennials have shifted significantly from those of their parents. While older generations favoured organised group tours for their safety and convenience, younger Chinese individuals, especially those who have travelled or studied abroad, prefer solo travel or small group vacations with friends.

Elisa Harca, CEO of consultancy firm Red Ant Asia, explains that the accessibility and safety of travelling in large groups previously drew older travellers. However, today's millennials value the freedom and personal growth that comes with solo travel experiences, allowing for more spontaneous and personalised journeys. This trend is also driven by a desire to explore destinations deeply and authentically, away from the usual tourist spots.

3. Dining at Michelin-Starred Restaurants

Elite millennials in China are increasingly indulging in dining experiences at Michelin-starred restaurants. This trend gained momentum after the Michelin Guide, launched in China in 2016, faced criticism for being too Western-centric.

To shift this narrative, many wealthy millennials are now turning to the Black Pearl guide, established by Chinese meal delivery giant Meituan in 2018. Amrita Banta, managing director of Agility Research & Strategy, notes that these millennials enjoy checking off renowned restaurants from their lists, both locally and internationally, enhancing their culinary journeys. Dining at these establishments is seen not just as a meal, but as a cultural and gastronomic experience that reflects their sophisticated tastes.

4. Choosing Not to Have Children

Views on marriage and parenthood among wealthy Chinese millennials have evolved, with many seeing children as a poor financial investment. This generation often prioritises personal goals, career advancement, and independence over starting a family.

For those who do choose to have children, maintaining a luxurious lifestyle remains a priority. Luxury postnatal retreats, costing over 200,000 yuan (approximately £21,700) per month, are becoming increasingly popular among wealthy new parents, offering a high level of comfort and care post-childbirth. These retreats provide services such as personalised health care, gourmet meals, and wellness programmes, ensuring that new parents can enjoy a high standard of living even as they start a family.

5. Investing in Wellness Trends

Wellness trends have captivated elite Chinese millennials, especially post-COVID-19. According to a 2024 McKinsey wellness report, 85% of Chinese respondents reported increased wellness purchases in the past year, more than in any previous year.

Gabriella Tegen, co-founder and CEO of Smartrr, highlights the growing interest in wellness supplements and health improvement products. Additionally, millennials are investing heavily in wellness procedures like IV drips and laser facials, reflecting a commitment to maintaining their health and well-being in a post-pandemic world. This focus on wellness also extends to mental health, with many engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to ensure a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

These new trends illustrate how wealthy Chinese millennials are redefining luxury and success, focusing on personal growth, sustainability, and unique experiences over traditional displays of wealth.

2024-05-29T21:32:18Z dg43tfdfdgfd