China household consumption up 8.3% in Q1 2019

In a country where a large share of shopping is done online, these data will have positive implications for Chinese e-commerce companies.

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn.

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