Apr 8, 2021|

JD Data: The Rise of the “Treat Yourself” Economy in China


by Ella Kidron

Based on a report jointly released by JD Big Data Research Institute and Economic Daily last Friday, purchases for oneself consistently accounted for nearly 60% of user’s overall consumption in the past three years. The rise of the “treat yourself” economy (referring to purchases made for oneself) is a reflection of a shift in consumer mindset as well as pursuit of more enjoyment of life’s pleasures and self-improvement.

Dr. Yi Zhang of the JD Big Data Research Institute explained that the data shows female consumer habits oscillate overtime, with purchases for oneself as a proportion of total purchases rising in the 16-25 age bracket, and then falling as consumers build families around age 26-35, rising again as kids grow up when parents become empty nesters from 36-55, and then falling at 56 and up. Purchases for oneself tend to fall into two categories – enhancing physical appearance and overall self-improvement.

Consumption for oneself as a proportion of the total for male consumers, however, more or less demonstrates a steady decline in terms of making purchases for oneself which peak around 16-25, to buying more for the family as time goes on. Even when the proportion is at its lowest at 56 and up, however, it is still makes up a higher proportion than consumption for the family does.

In 2020, the top categories for purchases for oneself include medicine, pet life, health products, personal care and alcohol. It’s no surprise that under the influence of COVID-19, medical and healthcare products have risen significantly.