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News    >    17th May 2012

Rural Chinese Consumers Most Optimistic

17th May 2012, Beijing: First quarter 2012 consumer confidence in China rose to its highest level since 2005 with a two point quarterly gain from 108 to 110, according to Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.

The latest edition of Nielsen’s Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions polled more than 28,000 consumers in 56 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism. Nielsen’s China Consumer Confidence Report is the largest of its kind, reaching more than 3,500 Chinese consumers from tier one cities to rural areas on a quarterly basis.

According to Nielsen, Chinese consumer quarterly confidence index increased by two points in Q1, making China the fourth most optimistic country in the world out of 56 markets measured.  

“Major economic indicators in China are still at reasonable levels, while the global economic condition is complicated,” said Yan Xuan, president, Nielsen Greater China. “The government’s firm support for small and medium-sized enterprises through expansion of credit, policy shift to create domestic consumption and demand, and continued enforcement of restrictions designed to deflate the real estate bubble are all contributing to Chinese consumer optimism.”

According to Nielsen’s study, India was the world’s most optimistic country in Q1 2012 with an index of 123. Three out of four BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) markets were among the top five most optimistic rankings as Brazil posted an index of 110 points. Confidence in Russia, at 84 index points, ranked 20th out of 56 global markets.

“China's inflation is considered to be easing amid a stabilizing economy, as the result of government’s easing policies has begun to take effect,” said Yan Xuan. “Chinese consumers felt more optimistic about the economy, job prospects and personal finances.”

Rural consumers were the most confident segment of China’s population in Nielsen’s latest Chinese Consumer Confidence Report and posted the largest quarterly confidence increase of five index points from 114 to 119.  Provincial capitals in tier two cities posted a two point confidence gain from 102 to 104 points, while confidence levels in other tier cities remained stabilized: tier one posted 101, tier three posted 102 and tier four posted 105.

“Rural consumers’ confidence has increased for the fourth consecutive quarter,” said Yan Xuan. “Their positive outlook largely benefited from the government’s determination to support the development of rural areas. The government will continue to introduce additional supportive fiscal policies such as raising subsidies for health insurance for farmers and the central government also plans to allocate more budget for agriculture, rural areas and farmers this year.  Rural consumers’ positive confidence also transferred to their consumption as Nielsen findings show that fast moving consumer goods sales in rural areas increased more compared to the national average.“

Although Chinese consumers indicate optimism for a better job market (+5%), and higher income expectation (+3%), their willingness to spend remained flat in the latest quarter. Fifty-nine percent of Chinese respondents said they would put spare cash into savings (compared to 56% the previous quarter) and nearly half of Chinese consumers surveyed (49%) put spare cash in education savings for their children, up from 41 percent the previous quarter.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com
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Wendy Wang, wendy.wang@nielsen.com, 008613681695919

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