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Chinese shopping habits changing

By Xie Yu (China Daily)

15:49, December 04, 2012

China's "new mainstream customers", according to Mckinsey & Co, are defined not only by their income but also by a new way of living and spending. (China Daily / Men Delong)

A group of new mainstream customers is emerging in China, rapidly advancing in size and purchasing power, the 2012 annual report of Chinese consumers released by Mckinsey & Co said.

More than 10,000 respondents, including a large sample of the middle class, in 44 cities took part in the study, the report said.

It defines "new mainstream customers" as those with an annual income above 106,000 yuan ($16,000), with markedly different spending behavior than the broader mass shoppers, who still comprise the vast share of Chinese customers. This group mainly lives in first-tier and second-tier coastal cities, is younger and more reliant on the Internet.

The new mainstream customers are willing to trade up, rely on the Internet more to conduct searches, take emotional considerations more into account when making purchases, trust brands and prefer online shopping, said Max Magni, partner and head of McKinsey's Greater China consumer practice.

"Instead of the big, trustworthy brands that many companies have used to good advantage up until now, more diverse portfolios of brands and niche products will be advisable," said Magni.

The report found that if the trend of China's growth unfolds as projected, roughly maintaining a GDP growth rate at about 7 percent, the new mainstream shoppers will comprise nearly 400 million people by 2020.

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