Consumer spending in China in Q1 2019 reached RMB 9.78 trillion (USD 1.45 trillion), according to new data released by China’s Ministry of Commerce. The number was up 8.3% year-on-year, but the pace of growth slowed 1.5% percentage points compared with the same period last year.
In a country where a large share of shopping is done online, these data will have positive implications for Chinese e-commerce companies. In 2018, online sales of consumer goods accounted for over 18% of total retail sales in China, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.
Aside from providing context to the Chinese e-commerce landscape, the figures also underscore the country’s ongoing shift towards a consumption-driven rather than an export-driven economy. Household consumption represented roughly 40% of China’s GDP in 2017. In the US, this figure has hovered around 68% in recent years.
Consumer retail spending is not evenly distributed in China
Nine out of China’s 23 provincial-level regions (including provinces and cities) had growth levels above the national average, and six regions have consumer spending growth rates above 10%.
Guangdong, meanwhile, was the biggest center of consumer spending by a longshot with over RMB 1 trillion (USD 150 billion), although its growth rate was not among the top performing regions.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad