China Emerges as World’s Biggest Consumer Market for Real Goods


Official data indicates that China has emerged as the world’s biggest consumer market when it comes to physical goods.

In 2019 the total volume of consumer good retail sales in China was 41.2 trillion yuan (approx. USD$6.3 trillion), making it the world’s biggest consumer market for physical goods, according to data from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

CASS data further indicates that end consumption expenditures made a contribution of around 60% to China’s economic growth.

Chen Guangjin (陈光金), head of the Social Sciences Research Institute of CASS, said that the structure of urban and rural household consumption continued to improve during the 13th Five Year Plan (2016 – 2020), with the Engel coefficient – the proportion of income spent on food, declining from 30.6% in 2015 to 28.2% in 2019.

During the first three quarters of 2020 total consumer good retail sales totalled 27.3324 trillion yuan, for a 7.2% YoY decline as a result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The figure nonetheless marked a narrowing of 4.2 percentage points compared to the decline for the first half of 2020, with the third quarter posting a positive gain.