The extended impact of Covid—isolation, closures and restrictions—were generation-shaping for Gen Z’s, akin to what the 2008 financial crisis was for millennials. As this cohort matures on the experiences of the pandemic to become empowered consumers, entrepreneurs, workers and voters, how will their views and expectations of society impact the way businesses function?
To connect the dots Vice Media group conducted a largescale survey in South Korea, Indonesia and India on more than 6,000 individuals in the 15 to 41 years age group to understand the shifts in cultural adoption. What is now popular, was once fringe—the enormous growth in the consumption of indie music, anime and gaming are reflections of the changing cultural consumption. Brands need to heed these patterns to thrive in an increasingly nimble world.
Campaign Asia-Pacific had an early look at the in-depth research, pulling out some key findings.
The rise of the Asian identity—unapologetic, uninfluenced
Undeniable trendsetters, the voice of the Asian youth is getting loud and proud and manifesting itself in fresh ways in music. A new musical diaspora driven by untold stories—artists like Bad Bunny and Burna Boy have taken over the global airwaves, transcending niche subgenres into superstardom. In Asia, Cambodian rapper VannDa is the new voice for Cambodia’s new generation, putting Cambodian music on an international stage.
More than six in 10 (63%) Asian youths say they express their identity through thoughts and opinions, 43% by appearance and 37% by the people they are surrounded with. Less than a quarter (23%) attach meaning to their identity through the brands they buy and just 16% are influenced by celebrities.
The definition of success has flipped
Success is no longer a fancy house, a luxury yacht or first-class air travel—the pandemic tossed that notion out of the window and forced people to collectively rethink their values. As work and life return to normal in 2023, Vice’s study finds those priorities are not on the wane.
Young Asians are waking up from the 'dream job' dream, normalising and prioritising a fulfilling life over a jetsetting career. This doesn’t mean money is no longer integral. Conversely, for this practical lot, money is a means to the end rather than the end in itself. Almost six in 10 (57%) defined success as a healthy work-life balance.
In a welcome shift, unlike their predecessors, young Asians are delving into financial education to get an early grip on their investments and financial health. Almost 7 in ten (68%) are comfortable with managing their own finances and one in three consider finances as part of their overall health and wellness.
Saying no to traditional marriage in record numbers, this generation might just radically change a centuries-old institution. Only 22% think of a life partner as a major milestone, childbirth (17%) is also on downward milestone trajectory.
Creativity and curiosity are the catalyst to change
The global economic and political gloom and doom has cast a shadow of doubt on the minds of 68% respondents who are visibly concerned about the direction their country is heading, a 15% increase from Vice’s 2018 survey.
Regardless, the belief in their personal abilities to drive change keeps them uplifted. Six in 10 have a strong faith in the power of creativity and curiosity, four in 10 (39%) see themselves as innately creative, 9% more than the global average. Over a third (35%) say they are liberal and open-minded.
Vice Media’s creative arm Virtue tells Campaign that this desire to channel curiosity is well reflected in the shift towards gaming. As gaming has expanded, it is no longer siloed, or plain escapism, it’s permeated into a space for content creation and mental stimulation. The next iteration of the world will be built in cyberspace, the report cites.
Huiwen Tow, strategy head for APAC at Virtue, reiterates brands need to recalibrate on these trends to connect and engage with Asia’s youth to stay relevant.
“Blind material aspiration is dead. Brands need to elevate the everyday moments to connect with the evolving definition of success to audiences. They need to tap into underlying sentiments around hope-punk and techno-optimism to create with them, not just for them, be it with new products, initiatives or campaigns.”