BEIJING: A majority of young people in China have changed their purchase behaviour in the last six months, but a growing number are also more confident about the short-term prospects of the country's economy.

BIGresearch, the consumer intelligence firm, recently conducted a poll of 9,861 people aged between 18 and 34 years old in the world's most populous nation.

It found that 61.3% of participants were either “confident” or “very confident” about the likely condition of its economy in the next six months, up from a total of 51.8% in the January to March period, but down from 65% in Q2 2008.

By contrast, 38.7% had either "little confidence" or "no confidence" about the Asian nation's economic prospects over the next two quarters.

A further 29.2% of respondents agreed their financial position had improved during the last half-year, compared with 12.5% who said the same for the opening three months of 2009.

In terms of their future intentions, 19.7% of contributors are planning to buy or lease a car before the end of 2009, an improvement of 14.0% on Q1 2009, and 17.3% year-on-year.

Magazines and television were said to be the main influences helping shape their preferences in this category, with 19% arguing these mediums played an important role.

With regard to the country of origin for the model they were hoping to buy, 46.2% stated they would opt for a domestic brand, with only 6.5% considering an American equivalent.

Overall, 62% of young Chinese consumers have also "become more practical and realistic in my purchases" over the last six months, with only 7.4% taking the opposite position.

Just over 45% also now "focus more on what I need rather than on what I want," with 41.3% similarly growing "more budget conscious."

Moreover, 56.8% of 18–34 year-olds "usually buy clothing when it's on sale", while 96% "regularly or occasionally research products online", with 92% saying the same with regard to buying products via this medium.

Other findings from the survey included the fact that "Wal-Mart and Carrefour continue to dominate both the grocery and health product categories as 18-34", as "Chinese consumers indicate they shop at the two stores most often."

Data sourced from BIGresearch; additional content by WARC staff