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Consumers Key to Future Chinese Growth

by David Crosbie , 18.07.2013

This week’s GDP growth figures from China confirmed a trend towards cooling growth in the world’s second biggest economy. While this was in line with expectations and Chinese government targets, many commentators identify the challenge for China to be bringing about a rebalancing of the economy in favour of consumer spending, in order to unlock sustainable growth in the future. In this context, the latest attitudinal data from GfK’s Mood of the World 2013 report shed valuable light on how Chinese consumers themselves are actually feeling.

One of the most striking findings is that slowing economic growth has not dented overall consumer confidence in the country, with 84% of Chinese consumers expressing confidence that they will be personally better off in twelve months’ time. This figure is unchanged since 2012, and means that consumer confidence in China is the joint-second highest of the 25 core markets covered; a full 25 percentage points above the global average.

Other data in the report highlight the challenges involved in encouraging consumer spending in China, but also the great opportunities. The proportion of Chinese consumers agreeing that now is a good time to buy has remained stable since 2012, but is somewhat below the global average, and is dwarfed by the proportion saying that now is a good time to wait. Meanwhile propensity to purchase a big-ticket item has declined slightly year-on-year.

Nevertheless, fully half of Chinese consumers plan to buy something in the next year or two across a range of categories including home and personal electronics, home appliances and special vacations, and given the size of the market this represents a significant opportunity for companies in these sectors. Another encouraging sign is that Chinese shoppers are less likely than a year ago to have made cutbacks in many areas of their expenditure, or to have used a number of money-saving strategies.

Despite the challenges that lie ahead for the Chinese economy, the opportunities that exist for brands and companies who can meet the needs of Chinese consumers are likely to grow as the rebalancing attempts continue.

Full details of the information mentioned in this blog are available in the Mood of the World 2013 report from GfK Consumer Trends. Also available is Truth Behind the Myth: Understanding Chinese Consumers. For more details on either of these reports, please contact us

The consumer insights detailed in this blog are derived from in-depth analysis of GfK’s largest, longest-standing and most robust consumer trends study in the world – Roper Reports Worldwide

David Crosbie is an Associate Director at GfK Consumer Trends: david.crosbie@gfk.com