BEIJING: Advertisers seeking to make inroads in China should target female shoppers and expand their presence in smaller cities in the country.

The China Market Research Group, the consultancy, conducted a survey of 5,000 women in 50 cities in the world's most populous nation in order to assess their current attitudes and likely spending habits.

It found that 80% of participants were planning to boost their expenditure levels over the next six months when compared with the previous such period, offering considerable potential for brands.

More specifically, respondents under the age of 35 years old were particularly interested in premium goods and healthy products, views they shared with the 18–24 years old demographic as a whole.

"They're looking for better value, better branded companies, especially in cosmetics," Shaun Rein, managing director of the China Market Research Group, argued.

More broadly, the extremely high levels of optimism among people in third and fourth tier cities in China mean that establishing broad sales networks is one key way of driving sales.

"[This is where] we're seeing the fastest growth for consumer product companies from KFC to Ajisun Noodles to Li Ning," said Rein. "The Chinese consumer is the major growth story of 2010."

A recent study released by Nielsen, the research firm, reported that consumer confidence levels in China had climbed to a record-equalling high during the first quarter of this year. 

Data sourced from CNBC/Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff