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Young Chinese under immense pressure to look good and succeed in life

05 May 2015

Younger adults in China are under more pressure than ever to be successful and look good, taking more drastic steps to try and achieve the desired image. According to Canadean, industry players should take a more holistic approach towards what constitutes beauty and avoid perpetuating stereotypes.

A new Canadean survey finds that 41% of Chinese consumers feel under pressure to look good, with 78% believing that better looking people have better opportunities in life both personally and professionally. A further 58% believe that society has an increasingly narrow view about what constitutes attractiveness. These responses were most common among younger adults. Michael Hughes, lead analyst at Canadean, says: “Industrialisation in China has opened up many opportunities for a growing middle class, but it has also brought about many challenges – and one in particular is the desire to succeed in life both professionally and personally.”

One-child family system leads to heightened expectations

The one-child family system in China has led to only children receiving a lot of attention from their parents in a time of continued economic growth. This generation is now expected to take advantage of their families’ social advancement and succeed both personally and professionally. Social acceptance and recognition is a big issue for these consumers, as they look to juggle developing a successful career with settling down and starting a family. “The so-called ‘Little Emperor Syndrome’ is leading consumers to feel intense pressure to look good because of their associations with attractiveness and the desire to not only settle down but demonstrate their new found wealth through maximising physical appearance,” says Hughes.

Industry players need to encourage holistic approach to beauty

According to Canadean, industry players should avoid projecting any stereotypes around what constitutes beauty and instead encourage consumers to adopt a more holistic approach, associating beauty with traits such as feeling happy and relaxed. Hughes adds: “Industry players should encourage consumers to adopt a wider view of what constitutes attractiveness. They should advocate feelings of happiness and esteem, as opposed to trying to achieve an image that in reality is neither achievable nor sustainable and not a reflection the true identities of consumers.” 

Asian Girl Looking At Mirror

Four out of ten Chinese consumers feel under pressure to look good.



All numbers used in this text are based on a Canadean survey of 2,000 China based adults.

Please get in contact if you have any questions to this or other Canadean surveys. Analysts are available to comment. Contact the Canadean press office on +44 (0) 207 936 6536 or email

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