BEIJING: Spending on consumer goods in China rose by 15% in the first quarter of this year on an annual basis to 2.94 trillion yuan ($430bn; €331bn; £294bn), figures from the country's National Bureau of Statistics show.

China is one of the few ad markets set to register a strong rate of growth in 2009, with industry forecasters projecting an upturn of just over 7% on average, based on WARC's latest Consensus Forecast, although this is down on double-digit expansion in the last few years.

Consumers in the country are also often argued to exhibit a more constrained approach to spending than their counterparts in many Western nations, and the current downturn may exacerbate this trend.

However, the retail sales of consumer goods increased by 14.1% to 1.98 trillion yuan in urban areas in Q1, and by 17% to 956.4 billion yuan throughout the rest of the country.

Residents of more urban centres had a disposable income of 4,834 yuan in the first quarter, up 10.2% year-on-year, and spent 3,130 yuan during this period, a per annum improvement of 8.6%.

While those living in rural areas also saw an increase in per capita income of 8.6% during the first three months of this year, this growth rate slowed from 18.5% in the year-ago period.

Data sourced from People’s Daily; additional content by WARC staff