Official data indicates that China’s consumer retail sales market is fast approaching that of the United States in size.
China’s full year public consumer good retail sales volume was 38.0987 trillion yuan for full year 2018 according to a report from China Economic Net, with analysts expecting this figure to breach the 40 trillion yuan threshold in 2019.
Ministry of Commerce data further indicates that e-commerce is a key driver of the growth in Chinese consumption.
Online retail sales breached 9 trillion yuan in 2018, including 7 trillion yuan in the real commercial good sales, for YoY growth of 25.4% to make a contribution of 45.2% to growth in total consumer good retail sales.
Zhang Yansheng (张燕生), chief researcher from the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (中国国际经济交流中心), said that China’s consumer market has thus far undergone three stages of upgrade.
The first phase was at the outset of the reform and opening era, during which the main goal was to ensure that average citizens were properly fed and clothed, while during the second phase Chinese citizens began to purchase their own vehicles and homes.
Since 2012 China has entered a third phase of consumption upgrade, with greater focus on international travel, leisure activities, as well as leading a healthy, environmentally friendly lifestyle.