China Focus: Young consumers' handbag culture reveals new consumption attitude

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SHENZHEN, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- A unique handbag culture has popped up in China as many young people are abandoning brand-name bags and turning to makeshift handbags such as reusable grocery bags or conference bags of various materials.

One representative example is the "Shenzhen bag," which refers to various handbags, including canvas bags, paper bags, milk tea packages, etc., that citizens carry around daily in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province.

"I often carry cloth and paper bags to work because all kinds of stuff can be put into them. The bags also have good designs and quality, which are liked by my friends and colleagues too," said Wang Xinyue, a resident of Shenzhen.

Makeshift handbags like the "Shenzhen Bags" are also quite common among young people in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. People find such bags practical, wearable, and fashionable, and they can be carried on the shoulder and back. Some bags even have thermal insulation coatings. They are suitable for both men and women and different age groups.

The emerging handbag culture reveals a new consumption attitude as young people in China begin to pursue a simple and shared consumption life, and consumers are no longer blindly pursuing brands as a status symbol but advocating a simple and low-carbon life.

In addition to the handbag, many young people, regardless of their monthly income, are living in a more relaxed and casual way, in line with a "good enough mentality." Loose T-shirts, crocs, and canvas bags are basically their standard mode. These simple and pragmatic products have become trendsetters.

"Consumers today are becoming more mature and rational. They are pursuing smarter consumption, through rational consideration and calculation, to find the cheapest, practical, cost-effective shopping way," said Wang Ning, a sociology professor at Southeast University.

Economists believe that Generation Z in China no longer blindly pursues brands and luxury goods or buys things for the sake of brand and status. Instead, they pay more attention to their own real needs, product quality, and consumption experience and prefer sharing behavior and second-hand transactions. They also advocate the concept of environmental protection and sustainable consumption.

A report released by database query platform confirms that rational and pragmatic consumption orientations such as "what I buy is what I really need" have become the mainstream choice.

The price-conscious Chinese consumers have also begun to place a greater emphasis on the abundance of the inner world. Driven by rational consumption, many young people will no longer scrimp and save because of a brand-name bag, and the money saved can be used to improve their inner self.

The new handbag culture has also brought business opportunities. Carrying the packaging bags of various goods as a handbag means moving advertising for the relevant goods. The phenomenon of "Shenzhen Bag" has also benefited paper bag manufacturers.

Fujian Nanwang environment protection sci-tech Co., Ltd., a paper packaging enterprise in east China's Fujian Province, is one of those that benefited. The company achieved a revenue of 1.05 billion yuan (146 million U.S. dollars), selling more than 5 billion food packages alone, in 2022. Enditem

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