Nielsen: Chinese Consumer Confidence Remains Stable in Third Quarter

Nielsen: Chinese Consumer Confidence Remains Stable in Third Quarter

Chinese Consumer Confidence index remained unchanged from last quarter at 106 in the third quarter of this year, the same level as one year ago, according to the latest Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index survey.

“China’s economy is generally in good shape and on track for stable economic growth and restructuring, the stabilizing consumer confidence index further proved that Chinese consumers are adjusting to the new economic trend,” said Yan Xuan, president of Nielsen Greater China.

Worldwide, global consumer confidence increased one point from the second quarter to a score of 99. Apart from China, four of the world’s top 10 economies posted optimistic scores of 100 or higher: U.S. (106), U.K. (106), Germany (100) and India (133).

According to this report, 6 in 10 Chinese respondents were confident about their personal finances (60%) and job prospects (58%) in the coming year, and just under half (49%) believed now is a good time to spend.

“While facing continued downward pressure and global market uncertainties, China may experience some short-term pains during its economic transformation, but the country has huge potential, sufficient advantages and plenty of space for maneuvering. The country’s new economy is vibrant, new businesses are booming, and new growth momentum is accumulating. Consumption contributed over 70% to overall GDP growth in the first six months of the year,” said Yan Xuan.

“We believe China is capable of keeping its economy on track for sustainable growth, and consumption will continue to be an important driver for the country’s economic growth.”

The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate-spending intentions. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism, respectively.


The Consumer Confidence Index in East China has been going up since first quarter this year, from 117 in Q1 to 120 in Q3. Meanwhile, the same trend appeared in the index of West China, from 95 in Q1 to 98 in Q3.

According to this report, the index increased in the west because of policy support from the government. The mounting investments in infrastructure in this region, together with the emerging opportunities in local economy, bringing new momentum to local’s economic growth. And this further drove the rebound in job and income prospects. The huge increase in willingness to spend was the most conspicuous change, from 35 in Q2 to 40 in Q3. At the same time, the willingness to spend in the east climbed from 65 in Q2 to 67 in Q3.

The report also shows that consumers in the west and in the east differed in the reason why they believed that now is a good time to spend. In the west, consumers focused more on their increasing income, while consumers in the east thought what drove them to spend money was the inexpensive cost, increased product diversity and the convenience of purchasing.

Meanwhile, basic family consumptions were the key in the west region, with 55% in commodity and 50% in utility pay. By contrast, there were more quality-of-life consumptions in the east, like dining out (51%), buying apparel and clothes (51%), and tourism (40%).


According to Nielsen’s report, Consumer Confidence Index started to diverse among different tiers of cities in Q3. Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities witnessed a rise in consumer confidence, especially in tier 2 cities (from 105 in Q2 to 110 in Q3). In tier 4 cities, Consumer Confidence Index was stable season on season, at 107.

In first half year, the increase of GDP and investment in most tier 2 cities was rapid, higher than the country’s average. The consumer confidence in tier 2 and tier 3 cities rose mainly due to the recovery of employment in the local areas, which promised consumers a better income prospect.

The report also says that the consumption on digital appliances, skin care and cosmetics, and apparel and clothes augmented greatly in tier 2 and 3 cities.


As China’s overall economy is on the track for stable growth and entered the development new normal, sales value growth showed a continued deceleration in growth for most categories of fast moving consumer goods. In terms of total value, China’s FMCG market growth has moderated in recent years, dropping from high double digit growth from 14% in 2014 to single digit of 6% this year.

One of the key reasons for FMCG growth deceleration was that the pace of premiumization slowed down over the past year, which contribute 5% sales growth two years ago, but declined to 1% this year.

The survey also found that more and more families are going online to buy their FMCG products and this is having a significant impact on the retail landscape in China, with online sales contributing 5% of FMCG sector’s value growth, one percentage higher than last year.

Nielsen findings showed that innovation is vital for the success of a newly launched FMCG product, and is also an important driver for a brand’s going premiumization. For instance, although price of gum care toothpaste is 1.5 times of the category’s average, its growth in sales value in the first half of 2016 is 13% higher compared with the category average.

“It’s important to pursue FMCG growth opportunities in China’s booming e-commerce market, which provide an efficient way to reach and recruit shoppers across China,” said Yan Xuan.

“In addition to tapping opportunities brought by ecommerce, winning brands are those quickly understand the changing dimensions and adapt to the new normal. Understand China’s changing trend can help FMCG companies adjust marketing strategy so as to find best ways to succeed amid the slowing economic growth.”