Middle class ready to spend in China

18 July 2012

BEIJING: Middle class consumers in China will ramp up their expenditure on electronics, apparel and luxury brands in the coming year, Mintel has discovered.

The research firm surveyed 1,500 middle class shoppers with household incomes of $9,000-$30,000 per year. This group represents 30m urban homes in China, or 13.5% of the total.

Overall, 97% of respondents owned a smartphone, hitting 96% for computers and 90% for digital or video cameras. A further 83% owned high-definition TV sets, and 70% had a DVD player.

"The boom in technology is revolutionizing the retail market, with the sudden growth in e-commerce powered largely by middle class urban spending," said Paul French, chief China market strategist at Mintel.

Among the gadgets listed by Mintel, 3D televisions recorded the lowest overall uptake, but even here scores came in at 26%, a relatively strong return for such nascent technology.

Some 39% of interviewees had bought "brown goods" like TV sets, personal computers and games consoles in the three months before the study, during which time 42% acquired white goods like washing machines and fridges.

Upon discussing purchase intent for these items, figures stood at 53% for brown goods and 43% for white goods.

A key driver of this trend is the rising penetration of credit cards, with 52% of participants now having more than one of these products.

Despite this willingness to spend, 77% of the sample had also added to their savings in the three months prior to the poll, and 50% expected to do so when projecting forward the same amount of time.

Only 5% of individuals questioned by Mintel did not anticipate buy luxury brands over the next 12 months.

But 67% were likely to splash out on high-end apparel, as did 60% for more general clothing and footwear. Jewellery and watches posted 58%, ahead of electronics on 45%.

Another 28% of contributors planned topurchase luxury furniture and home appliances, reaching 21% for cars and motorcycles.

Data sourced from Mintel; additional content by Warc staff