Chinese teenagers untapped consumer potential
Updated: 2006-10-04 15:46

Beijing -- Teenagers in China's big cities represent a vast pool of consumers whose interests and habits should be better studied when developing and advertising new products, according to a recent survey.

About 44 percent of middle school and high school students (aged 13 to 18) have their own bank accounts and their average monthly pocket money is more than 200 yuan (US$25), according to CTR Market Research, a major market research company in China.

A total of 8,000 students in eight big cities were interviewed by CTR and China Youth & Children Research Center. The researchers say a sample this size will accurately represent the views of 2.45 million teenagers in larger cities.

The survey results show teenagers spent 62.5 percent of their pocket money on food and beverages. It also indicates the youth spent an average of 82 yuan per month on on-line games. Stationery, comic books and magazines were also high on the list of purchases.

The research was carried out in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Nanjing, Wuhan, Chengdu and Xi'an from April to September.

It also found teenagers were highly interested in purchasing digital products such as an MP3 player and digital camera. The survey predicts at least a million young people plan to buy a digital product in the near future.

Spending on mobile phone services were also a big part of young people's expenditure. Nearly 1.274 million teenagers use mobile phones and they spend an average of 70 yuan a month on them, according to CTR.

Half of their pocket money was received at the beginning of the lunar new year. That's when parents and relatives traditionally give young relatives cash or "yasui" money. On average young people in the larger cities get 1,400 to 2,000 yuan in "yasui" money.

Teenagers are usually allowed to freely spend more than half of their yasui money which is estimated to be worth 3.3 billion yuan, say the research.

"Chinese teenagers are a huge group of consumers but the study of their purchasing habits and lifestyles remain inadequate," said Shen Ying, manager of CTR's media and brand department.

Teenagers should be surveyed more often to help companies and media better target their products, she said.