updated 22 May 2012, 01:51
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Fri, Jan 07, 2011
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Obsessed with bargains

Everybody loves a bargain. However, the youth in China have become obsessed with bargain shopping.

Discount consumerism has become a way of life for China's youth that they have been dubbed as the "coupon generation".

Ding Can, a self-confessed discount shopaholic, told the Associated Press that her discount shopping is not borne out of need. "I've never come across a good deal I didn't like," she reasoned.

Another bargain hunter is Shan Yunfei. The administrative assistant who earns US $500 a month (S$648) bought two dozens of fruit juice cartons at half price.

"I'll give it away to friends and family as gifts," said Shan, when asked how she could finish drinking all that juice.

This phenomenon is even changing the way businesses are run in China.

Discount clubs, online group buying and even sidewalk kiosks which dispense coupons are all the rage now in China. There is even an online forum, "Discounts For Singles", which combines discount shopping and matchmaking.

Even big companies such as Nike and Mercedes-Benz are jumping on the discount bandwagon. Mercedes-Benz had launched a 20 per cent discount campaign for its new Smart car which saw all 200 cars being snapped up within four hours. The discount period was supposed to have lasted three weeks.

Marketing professor at Beijing university, Fu Guoqun, told the Associated Press that "Young Chinese consumers love to spend and rarely save because they are optimistic that they’ll always have money."

Perhaps discount shopping helps to ease the shopping guilt for the young Chinese, who remember their country had suffered many generations of poverty.

Another reason could be that frugality is a trait that is traditionally valued in Chinese society.

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