SHANGHAI: Some 45% of Chinese consumers cut back their spending levels last month, and 85% are also "concerned" about the outlook for the country's economy, according to market research and consultancy firm DDMA.

Chinese consumers are argued to have typically higher savings rates than their counterparts in the West, and the downturn appears to be further encouraging them to restrict their outlay.

Based on a survey of 9,600 consumers aged 25–45 in five different cities, DDMA found that the number of consumers buying branded clothing fell by 34% last month, with 26% also reducing their spending on branded cosmetics.

A total of 13% of respondents said they have decreased their expenditure on daily groceries, and other categories that could see slowdowns are automobiles and electronic consumer goods.

Over 50% of participants said they are working for companies that are reducing costs, while 27% are employed by firms that have recently made job cuts, and a fifth are now working reduced schedules.

While 26% of consumers said they were concerned about their job security, just under half predict the economic situation will be better in 12 months time, a figure up by 12% on January.

Recent figures from the National Bureau of Statistics also show that consumer prices in China fell by 1.6% in February, the first such decline since recorded since 2002.

Data sourced from DDMA; additional content by WARC staff