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In today’s modern Chinese family, parents are more invested than ever in creating better environments both for themselves and their children to live, work and play. In fact, new research from Mintel reveals that 72% of young Chinese parents* agree raising their children is more important than developing a good career. With their children a top priority, 93% of surveyed young parents say they have a tangible goal for the next five years in mind, rising to 96% among those aged 30-39. Improving quality of life seems to be the priority for young parents over the next five years, with buying a house (35%), buying a car (24%) and making more money (23%) among the top three goals.

Alina Ma, Associate Director at Mintel, said, “Our research shows that young parents are prioritising their children over careers. This is likely driven by the need for parents to strike a healthy balance between the desire for self-improvement and the belief that family and children come before themselves. Young Chinese parents’ top priority is to give their family a more comfortable and enjoyable life.”

With their children’s wellbeing in mind, it seems young parents find it important to have a pet in the home with 65% of surveyed parents agreeing doing so is beneficial to their children’s growth, rising to 70% among those who plan to have another child, and 74% among Mintropolitan** parents.

More and more young parents are recognising the positive influence that pets can have on quality of life, as well as children’s development, as pets are believed to relieve feelings of loneliness, offer opportunities for exercises and provide educational opportunities for both themselves and their children,” Ma continued.

Meanwhile, when considering the priorities for mums and dads, it seems that young Chinese dads are more interested in activities that help their family better communicate and help their children become physically strong. Young dads say more communication among family members (54%) and leisure activities that get my child/children moving (44%) are important. On the other hand, surveyed Chinese mums have a stronger desire to play together with their children; children’s leisure activities could be made attractive (35%) to mums as well.

“As family leisure and entertainment is not entirely the decision of mums, it is important to address dads’ wants and needs. Chinese dads tend to be more hands-on, while unique and innovative activities could be slightly more appealing to mums, partly because of their stronger desire for trying out new things,” added Ma.

Modern Chinese parents lead busy lives and most of them have a strong demand to keep the balance between work and family. This demand has led many young parents to turn to technology to help keep children occupied. Indeed, 73% of surveyed parents agree that it is essential to use high-tech devices to help their children study, rising to 83% among Mintropolitan parents. Further, 72% and 68% of surveyed parents purchase mobiles and online games for their children, respectively.

However, not all technology is good as many young parents worry about the influence media exposure has on their children. Mintel data shows that the average number of media content elements that surveyed parents want to prevent their children from seeing is 6.5, and 30% of young parents worry about more than eight types of media content. This suggests that modern young parents have a strong desire to protect their children from an increasing level of ‘unsafe’ media exposure.

“The rise of automatic technology and machines has been helpful in handling heavy and stressful family duties. But the high level of concern from young parents about uncensored media content shows that as modern society becomes more informal and open to varied ideologies, brands could play a bigger role in being seen as a responsible, ethical ‘safeguard’ for children and families. Such concern could lead to the rising demand for products and services to strengthen children’s emotional wellbeing. For example, technology companies could develop wearables to detect whether a child has or is going to have emotional problems,” concluded Ma.

*This report interviews young parents aged 20-39, who have at least one child aged 17 or below in the household. Younger dads and mums refer to 20-29s and mature dads and mums refer to 30-39s.

**With the debate ongoing regarding how to define China’s middle class, Mintel has devised its own definition: ‘Mintropolitans’ are broadly defined as those who represent a significant, sophisticated consuming group who pursue quality of life rather than just wealth, are well educated, and are the potential trendsetters.

Press review copies of Mintel’s Marketing to Young Parents China 2017 report and interviews with Alina Ma, Associate Director at Mintel, are available on request from the press office.