Consumption is expected to see a robust uptrend in China next year on the back of strong domestic demand and various other measures, officials from the Ministry of Commerce said on Nov 27.
'Despite the COVID-19 effect in the first quarter of the year, consumption in key sectors such as automobiles, home appliances, catering sector and commodities witnessed a stable recovery in the last few months, as the strict prevention and control measures to keep the disease at bay started yielding results,' said Wang Bingnan, vice-minister of commerce.
To further expand domestic consumption, China will introduce a series of measures to boost demand in sectors such as automobiles, home appliances, furniture, construction materials, catering sector and commodities, which accounted for about one-fourth of the total retail sales in China last year, he said.
Rural consumption, accounting for 14.7 percent of total retail sales in the country, will be another sector that will be an important area for expansion of domestic demand.
In October, retail sales climbed 4.3 percent on a yearly basis, up 1 percentage point from the 3.3-percent gain in September. It was the third consecutive month that the reading stayed in the positive territory, he said.
Although retail sales dropped by 5.9 percent on a yearly basis during the first 10 months, the decline was 5.5 percentage points less than that in the first six months of the year. Automobile sales rose by 12 percent in October on a yearly basis, registering another round of double-digit growth for four consecutive months.
Catering consumption saw a growth of 0.8 percent on a yearly basis in October, the first positive growth in the year. Sales of home appliances and furniture rose by 3.2 percent and 1.9 percent in October on a monthly basis, while for construction materials it was 3.7 percent. Rural consumption increased by 5.1 percent on a yearly basis in October, up 1.1 percentage points on a monthly basis.
The ministry will team up with other government departments to promote consumption without diluting any of the measures to prevent and control the pandemic, said the vice-minister.
Greater support will be given to expand automobile consumption, including fine-tuning restrictive measures on automobiles purchase, stimulating secondhand automobile market, and promoting new energy vehicle development. Promotional campaigns will be held for vehicle purchases in rural areas.
Consumption upgrade of home appliances will also be encouraged, and in some regions subsidies will be provided for purchase of green smart home appliances, including trade-in programs.
Promotional campaigns on catering consumption will also be held, and service providers would be encouraged to combine online and offline channels while making product and service innovations. In rural areas, measures will be taken to improve logistics and product quality to stimulate consumption, according to Liu Jinxi, an official with the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives.
Wang Bin, deputy director-general of the ministry's department of market operations and consumption promotion, said domestic consumption will see further expansion due to its strong credentials and the upward trajectory of the stabilizing Chinese economy.
Projected to be the only major economy with positive growth this year, China has seen new consumption forms emerging and progressing, he said.