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Decoding the Chinese consumer

(China Daily)

13:47, August 14, 2012

(Photo/China Daily)

As spending slows, fresh focus on shoppers expected to drive global and Chinese economies

This still largely faceless individual is seen as providing life support to the stuttering economies of Europe and prodding the nascent recovery in the United States.

He or she is also key to the Chinese government's plans to move the world's second-largest economy from being export-oriented to more consumer driven.

But what is the DNA of this person? And what makes him or her tick? These questions have become more in focus recently because there has been concern Chinese shoppers are easing up.

China's consumer confidence index, according to data published earlier this month, showed a marked decline from 104.2 in May to just 99.3 in June.

With spending showing signs of drying up, there has been evidence of a price war in China with Gome, a leading domestic electronic retailer, offering 50 percent online discounts and even McDonald's slashing the price of its value dinner to 15 yuan ($2.35, 1.90 euros).

This weakening in the consumer mood was also detected by global information company Nielsen in its China consumer confidence survey published earlier this month.

It showed confidence slipping five index points in the second quarter to 105 from 110 in the first three months of the year, although the confidence level was still 14 points ahead of the global average.

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