BEIJING: Young consumers in China are growing more optimistic about their personal prospects, but many are still opting to save rather than increase their spending levels.

Big Research, the consultancy, surveyed 15,000 people aged 18–54 years old in the Asian nation during the final quarter of 2009, with a particular focus on shoppers under 34 years old.

Some 19.7% of this latter group said they were "very confident" about the development of the country's economy in the next six months, with a further 45.1% agreeing they were "confident".

By contrast, only 26.5% reported that they had "little confidence" in the national financial outlook, with 8.8% stating they had "no confidence".

Perceptions of the job market declined slightly, as a growing number of 18–34 year olds expected redundancies to mount going forward.

This was in spite of the fact that 37.3% of this cohort were "better off" than was the case 12 months ago, with only 15.8% having seen a deterioration in their circumstances.
Just 18.3% of contributors believed they were saving enough to meet their future needs, with 52.5% taking the opposite view.

However, Big Research said that the savings rate in China remains one of the highest worldwide, a trend encouraged by widespread income inequality, a weak social safety net and a lack of easy access to credit.

“The number of … consumers indicating sales are not important to them when buying clothing declined slightly, illustrating hesitation when it comes to letting spending return to pre-recession levels," Big Research's report said.

Among its other findings were that Wal-Mart and Carrefour currently "dominate" the grocery sector, with 18-34 year olds shopping at these two chains most frequently.

Data sourced from Big Research; additional content by Warc staff