BEIJING: Carrefour, KFC and Starbucks are among the brands attracting large numbers of shoppers in China at present, new figures have shown.

BIGResearch, the survey firm, conducted a poll of 18,000 people in the country, all of which fell into the 18–54 year old age range and could be described as "digitally connected".

When asked to assess the outlook for the domestic economy in the next six months, confidence levels among this audience had declined from 63.8% in the first quarter of 2010 to 56.6% in the second.

In appraising their personal financial situation, 31.9% of the sample believed they were "better off" than in the same period last year, although this total constituted a contraction on Q1.

Elsewhere, 20.2% of the panel agreed they were currently saving enough money and 38.4% hoped to set more funds aside going forward.

Optimism regarding the employment market was relatively robust, with only 32.2% of participants predicting redundancies would rise.

Looking to purchase behaviour, 41.4% of contributors are now focusing on "needs" instead of "wants", down from 45.4% in Q2 2009.

Similarly, the proportion of respondents that had become more "practical" or "realistic" in their buying decisions decreased from 62.7% to 58.6% in this timeframe.

Just 12% of shoppers were planning to turn to own-label or low-cost goods, 15.2% intended to reclaim coupons and 26.6% favoured acquiring products available on sale.

One third of individuals featured in the study expected to increase their number of visits to stores, and 31.6% anticipated regularly frequenting outlets closer to where they lived.

A further 25.8% stated a preference for comparing prices online, but only 12.2% were likely to use ad circulars and newspapers for this purpose.

Carrefour was named as the primary destination for groceries by 15.3% of consumers, with Wal-Mart on 13.1% and DaRunFa on 7.5%.

TaoBao, the e-commerce platform, headed the apparel rankings on 13.5%, with Parkson on 6.8% and New World on 4.2%.

Guomei led the way for electronics on 33.5%, in front of major rival Suning on 22.8%.

KFC boasted the most popular fast-food restaurants on 31.9%, followed by McDonald's on 15.3% and Pizza Hut on 5.5%.

Starbucks was the top place to obtain coffee on 21%, with KFC in second on 15.4% and McDonald's in third on 10.9%.

Data sourced from BIGResearch; additional content by Warc staff