A Better Life? The Wants and Worries of China's Consumers

The EIU finds that Chinese consumers, both urban and rural, are optimistic about the future but remain big savers and cautious spenders, despite their government's concerted effort to stimulate domestic demand.


Key findings include:

  • Optimism, even among relatively poor farmers, is high ... Across both of the surveys, 91% of respondents said they are optimistic about the future.
  • ... But even the well-off remain big savers. In theory, wealthier consumers should be more confident and more willing to spend.
  • ... And hesitant borrowers. In tier 1 cities, 75% of respondents said they had relied on their own earnings or on family and friends to finance the purchase of the home where they lived (all respondents were homeowners). 
  • Everyone wants a car-but many are also worried about pollution. At 61%, car ownership among the relatively well-off urban consumers surveyed is much higher than the overall penetration rate for cars of 28 per 1,000 people in China. 
  • The passion for property will continue, but focus could shift to quality. The relatively well-off urban survey respondents are playing a significant part in China's booming property market-42% already own two or more properties, and 61% plan to buy a new home in future. 
  • Healthcare is the number one concern of both urban and rural consumers, but for different reasons. With the national healthcare reform programme still being rolled out, it is not surprising that health is a big concern. 
  • To encourage rural consumption, more needs to be done to address basic concerns. The farming households surveyed showed a relatively weak inclination to consume-few were planning to upgrade the goods they already owned, or to make more expensive purchases in the near term.

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