China emerges as the world’s largest consumer market in physical goods

The Blue Book of China’s Society, released on Dec. 21 by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), indicated that in 2019 the total retail sales of consumer goods in China reached 41.2 trillion yuan (about $6.3 trillion), leading China to become the world’s largest consumer market in physical goods.

Photo taken on Dec. 19 shows participants at the 2020 China (Hainan) International Winter Trade Fair for Tropical Agricultural Products in south China’s Hainan province. (People’s Daily Online/Wang Chenglong)

The final consumption expenditures contribute to around 60 percent of China’s economic growth, the Blue Book pointed out.

The structure of urban and rural household consumption has continued to improve since 2016, with the Engel coefficient, i.e., the proportion of income spent on food, declining from 30.6 percent in 2015 to 28.2 percent in 2019, said Chen Guangjin, director of the Institute of Sociology of CASS.

During the first three quarters of 2020, total consumer good retail sales amounted to 27.3 trillion yuan, down 7.2 percent from the same period last year due to the outbreak of COVID-19; there was a positive growth in the third quarter, Chen added. 

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