Many people, including some of the big media houses, still refer to China’s population as 1.3 billion. This was true five years ago, but since 2012, the number of people living in China has been closer to 1.4 billion.
China’s latest census results were released last month, showing the population is edging even nearer to the 1.4 billion figure at 1,373,490,000. Between 2011 and 2016 that number grew 0.5% or 34 million, the slowest growth in recent history, but still similar to the population of Canada.
The census highlighted the concerning trend of China’s declining working-age folks. Those aged 15-59 dropped by 15 million, from 70.1% to 67.3% of the population at 925 million. Whereas the number of Chinese over-60 grew by almost 45 million people from 13.3% to 16.2% in just five years. Under-15 year-olds increased by 4.5 million from 2011 to 227 million. Whilst China’s aging population and the One-Child Policy haven’t helped birth rates, the portion of youth remains virtually unchanged at 16.5%.
China’s urban population rose 6.2% over the past five years to 767.5 million – 55.9% of the population, although migration growth is slowing.
Nevertheless, whether China has 1.3 or 1.4 billion people, the total population is not overly relevant for most brands selling into China. The percentage of the populace with the means, and the will, to buy most imported products is currently only a fraction of that. That fraction is growing however, and fast.
Although China is already the largest market for luxury goods, cars, tourism, international education, foreign property and countless other categories, what we are seeing today is just the tip of the iceberg. The number of Chinese urban households with earnings of at least $25,200 annually is expected to soar from 4% in 2010 to 54% by 2030 according to McKinsey. In addition to rising incomes, the willingness to spend on consumables is also increasing. Brands that are already building a presence and channels, and an understanding of China, are best placed to tap into that opportunity.
For our Shanghai-based readers, China Skinny’s Mark Tanner will be explaining who those relevant consumers are and how to best reach them next Tuesday May 10 in association with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Click here for more information. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.