Consumers pick up food from a supermarket in Shanghai on Jan 30.(Photo/China Daily)
China's Consumer Confidence Index or CCI will likely remain in positive territory in 2018, given the strong economic growth momentum and people's expectation of better employment and higher income, according to Nielsen China.
Nielsen's CCI measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finance and immediate spending intentions.
Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism, respectively.
In a report, Nielsen said the CCI rose sharply in 2017, ranging between 110 and 114 points, a relatively high level, indicating Chinese consumers' strong confidence, optimism and positive attitude.
For the whole of 2017, the CCI reached 112 points, compared with 106 in 2016.
"Thanks to supply-side structural reforms, the innovation-driven development strategy has been deeply implemented. The country is continuously injecting new vitality to the healthy and sustainable development of economy," said Vishal Bali, managing director of Nielsen China.
China's GDP grew 6.9 percent in 2017 to 82.7 trillion yuan ( trillion), exceeding the official growth target of 6.5 percent. It was the first time in seven years that the annual figure rose, on the back of supply-side reforms.
"As the economic growth stabilizes, China's CCI will remain on a steady growth path in the foreseeable future," Bali said.
Job prospects, personal finance, and the willingness to spend maintained stable growth in the fourth quarter 2017, reaching the highest since 2015, Nielsen data showed.
Liang Hong, chief economist of investment bank China International Capital Corporation (CICC), said in a research that the country's GDP growth of this year will reach 6.9 percent.
"For the past four years, China's domestic consumption has become a leading force driving economic growth, thanks to government efforts to restructure the economy," Bali said. "Online shopping festival 'Double Eleven' (on Nov 11 or 11-11) and the Chinese New Year holiday in February further shore up consumer buying desire."
Region-wise, the CCI in China's east and south registered strong growth while that in the north was steady.
"The country's new pattern of regional economic development was boosted, as effects of strategies like the Belt and Road Initiative, Yangtze River Economic Belt and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Coordinated Development unfolded. Regional reforms including the development of western region, the revitalization of old industrial bases in the northeast, the rise of the central region, also contributed to the new economic pattern," said Bali.
Amid technological upgrade and quality-oriented economic expansion, rapid growth can be seen across fields like urban development and retail, he said.
Nielsen's report shows 96 percent of Chinese consumers surveyed are more willing to pay via mobile phones. Also, the concept of New Retail, or a symbiotic mix of offline and online retail, has been quickly accepted in China.
And 45 percent of the manufacturers hold the view that New Retail will have a profound positive impact on the overall retail business, while 48 percent think New Retail will hurt the retail industry to a certain extent.