Consumer sentiment in China will improve in 2013, gathering pace alongside the economic recovery. That’s according to a new report from research firm Nielsen. It sees consumer sentiment increasing by the final quarter of 2012, returning to levels seen a year earlier before the China slowdown took hold.
Nielsen surveyed 3,500 Chinese people from across the country and a range of backgrounds in the fourth quarter of last year.
The key outcome: Consumers in rural China continued to be the most optimistic segment of the population, followed by tier two and tier four cities. And in terms of regions, Southern China was the most confident.
The final three months of 2012 saw a pick up in consumer morale, improving by 2 index points from the third quarter to 108. The second quarter saw a level of 109 points, which was down from 110 points in the first quarter of last year.
Looking ahead, Chinese residents indicate that their spending plans for the next six months will remain stable, while optimism for employment projects and personal financial expectations are edging up.
Latest official data shows that China’s annual consumer inflation rate quickened to a seven-month high of 2.5 percent in December, mainly on rising food prices.
But although analysts expect prices pressures to keep building up in coming months, consumer confidence is seen picking up thanks to the economic recovery.
According to the Nielsen survey, personal digital devices and home appliances, rank high on consumers’ shopping lists this year.
30 percent of respondents plan to buy personal digital devices, such as mobile phones or touch panels, while 27 percent are intending to purchase home appliances.
The Chinese Spring Festival which is just around the corner is also expected to give consumer spending a major boost.
Martina Fuchs, Beijing, said:"Here in downtown Beijing, retail sales for the Chinese New Year have kicked off with a big bang. This is a time when consumer confidence peaks and people splash out on non-essential items. It seems that even the stubborn pollution cannot deter them from spending their cash."
Pastries, sweets, lanterns and other red-colored goods, traditionally a lucky color in China, are the items flying off the shelves the most.
The Year of the Snake appears to be starting off well for China’s booming retail market.
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