Chinese consumers set to fuel growth

02 October 2012

BEIJING: Shoppers in China offer a "beacon of hope" compared with their counterparts in the US and UK as a result of differing spending intentions in these nations, the Boston Consulting Group has argued.

The company polled 4,000 adults in China, the UK and US, and found that 40% of respondents in the Asian market expected to boost their expenditure in the next 12 months when measured against the previous year.

Such a total reached 36% among the Chinese panel in 2011, and hit 23% in 2010. The increase on this metric recorded in 2012 means these buyers should remain "an engine" of growth going forward, BCG asserted.

By contrast, just 9% of interviewees in the UK and US who were questioned during the latest round of research predicted they would raise their outlay levels in the coming year.

More broadly, 60% of Americans and 55% of Britons were anxious about the future, as were only 34% of people in China.

"Chinese consumers are a beacon of hope. They believe they will earn more, they will spend more, and their children will have a better life. They don't see a global conflict on the horizon," said Michael Silverstein, a senior partner at BCG's office in Chicago.

He added: "US and UK consumers, on the other hand, remain guarded, stressed, and anxious. They are suffering the consequences of four years of recession and continued talk of a 'double dip'. They read the gloomy headlines from around the world and are filled with fear."

In keeping with such a suggestion, a modest 19% of the Chinese sample agreed they were "not financially secure", a figure standing at 42% for their British peers, and coming in at 51% in America.

Elsewhere, a 51% majority of contributors from China predicted there would be a "full economic recovery", falling to 27% for those surveyed in the US, and 21% when discussing the UK.

An additional 86% of Chinese adults anticipated life was likely to improve in the next ten years, versus 67% in the US.

Similarly, 80% of participants in China thought their children were set to have a better quality of life, declining to 24% in the UK and US.

Despite this, a limited 18% share of the Chinese audience agreed their overall "happiness" at present exceeded prior expectations, an amount growing to 31% in the US.

Data sourced from Boston Consulting Group; additional content by Warc staff