China released its official data for 2015 this week, further reinforcing that consumers drove the lion’s share of China’s 6.9% GDP growth last year. Retail sales growth of 11.3% was almost double GDP growth.
Interestingly, some of the fastest growing retail categories were related to Chinese consumers’ homes. Home appliance shoppers spent 13.5% more last year, furniture sales increased 16.5% and building & decoration materials sales grew 20.0%, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
It is another indicator that Chinese homes are increasingly becoming a space for residents to enjoy, entertain and express themselves, rather than just functional places to live. Chinese occupied an average space of just 9 square metres in 1980, which grew to 32 square metres by 2014, contributing to this trend.
Growth in China’s residential property sales will further drive spending related to the segment. Average house prices grew 7.7% year-on-year in China’s 70 biggest cities, with prices of new homes rose in December in 39 of the 70 cities – up from 33 in November.
Other standout retail growth segments included food at 18.1%, beverages at 16.5%, alcoholic drinks and tobacco at 13.6%, and Western medicines at 12.3%.
Retail sales growth was helped by the 13 million new jobs created in China last year – well above the Government’s target of 10 million, driven by the booming service sector.