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Surprise Chinese Shopping Spree Drives Economy Forward

Chinese shopping and the insatiable appetites of Chinese consumers helped to boost that country’s economy in the first quarter of 2018 at a quicker pace than expected: 6.8 percent. This all despite the fact that rising tensions between China and the United States could impact billions of dollars in trade.

Chinese shopping, consumption in economic speak, accounted for an incredible 80 percent of economic growth in the first quarter. Retail sales alone, the number that matters most to exporters to China, rose just over 10 percent on a year-over-year basis. The level of consumers spending was not only more than expected. It also marked the strongest pace in four months.

These are the kinds of numbers that brands that are looking to invest in their cross-border sales need to know. They don’t provide enough information to form a business model, obviously, but they do give a good indication of if your business model towards China is broken.

According to Iris Pang, Greater China economist at ING in Hong Kong, strong wage growth in urban areas is resulting in spending far outpacing expectations. “The retail sales data tells you a lot about consumption. It is not seasonal,” she said. “If you look at growth in cosmetics, spending on clothing, spending on automobiles, there has been a persistent trend for a few months.”

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