China's domestic consumption has remained a strong contributor to the economy, helping drive it as the country has undergone economic restructuring in recent years－but last year it flagged, according to the latest official statistics released in Beijing on Friday.
Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that in 2016, domestic consumption contributed 64.6 percent to growth in GDP, dipping 1.8 percentage points from a year ago.
From 2012 to 2014, consumption contributed around 50 percent to GDP growth, and the rising ratio has indicated a solid growth in consumer spending and improvement in industrial structures, analysts said.
"The consumption sector has been a strong area of the Chinese economy, which has been dragged down by slowing exports and investments," said Zhao Ping, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, under the Ministry of Commerce.
Currently, China is pushing to stimulate growth by focusing on supply-side reform, which aims to cut low-end industrial capacity, increase high-tech production, encourage online shopping and stimulate the service sector.
Last year, GDP grew 6.7 percent year-on-year, the slowest expansion in more than two decades, but still within a reasonable range, the statistics bureau said.
In 2016, total retail sales climbed by 10.4 percent year-on-year to 33.23 trillion yuan (.83 trillion), staying flat with the growth rates of the first three quarters last year. During the same period, catering sales reached 3.58 trillion yuan, rising 10.8 percent year-on-year, the bureau announced at a news conference on Friday in Beijing.
Online sales remained strong last year, surging 26.2 percent from a year ago to 5.16 trillion yuan－and sales of physical goods online accounted for 12.6 percent of total retail sales.
On Nov 11 last year, China's e-commerce giant Alibaba smashed its sales record once again during its annual Singles Day festival, with consumers spending 120.7 billion yuan, during the 24-hour shopping frenzy on the company's e-commerce portals such as Taobao.com and Tmall.com.