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What Chinese Consumers Can Teach Americans

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I don’t think one has to go to China for that. Just go to Western Europe, especially Germany, Austria or Switzerland. All these trades below have been around their for a long time.

Amplify’d from finance.yahoo.com
Chinese consumers don’t gorge on debt. China’s financial system isn’t yet geared to consumers, and credit is a lot harder to get than it is in the West. Yet even as it becomes available to higher-income consumers, they’re not biting. “Consumers elsewhere tend to trade up as they get wealthier,” according to the McKinsey report. “Some start relying on credit, often spending more than they can afford. Not in China. Consumers there remain very concerned about financial stability and spend within their means.” It will be interesting to see if Chinese consumers retain that discipline as their nation gets wealthier. They seem to be off to a good start.
Chinese consumers don’t gorge on debt. China’s financial system isn’t yet geared to consumers, and credit is a lot harder to get than it is in the West. Yet even as it becomes available to higher-income consumers, they’re not biting. “Consumers elsewhere tend to trade up as they get wealthier,” according to the McKinsey report. “Some start relying on credit, often spending more than they can afford. Not in China. Consumers there remain very concerned about financial stability and spend within their means.” It will be interesting to see if Chinese consumers retain that discipline as their nation gets wealthier. They seem to be off to a good start.

If they “trade up” to more expensive goods, they also “trade down” on other things to help pay for the indulgence. McKinsey’s survey found that in three-quarters of urban households, Chinese consumers said they had traded up in at least one product category–buying a more expensive product or brand than they used to buy. But the majority of those people also spent less on other products to finance the upgrades. Many white-collar men spent more on restaurant meals, for instance, often to impress clients or business colleagues. But most of those big spenders also cut back on things like personal-care products or snacks, to balance out the spending. More than 80 percent of trade-up demand for higher-quality clothing and shoes came from working-class people trying to craft a more impressive professional image–and they, too, gave up a variety of other things to pay for it. Such tradeoffs might seem like an obvious choice–except we all know how hard it can be to give up even small luxuries, once we’ve gotten used to them.

They budget first and buy second (or don’t buy at all). McKinsey reports that the typical Chinese family determines how much it can afford to spend, then lists the things it wants to buy, and finally holds a “beauty contest” to determine which products on the wish list are most appealing. Those are the ones they buy. Many Americans budget just as carefully, but far too many of us buy extra stuff anyway, because we feel entitled to it or it just makes us feel better. It’s second-nature in America to push a cart through the aisles of Target or Home Depot, filling it with little things we never intended to buy, or even thought of before we got to the store.

They spend months researching purchases. Many Chinese families in the market for a computer spend three to six months deciding which model to buy, visiting a store four or five times to check out the offerings. Other big-ticket items get just as much scrutiny, and Chinese shoppers also deliberate carefully over everyday things like food, drinks, and health and beauty items. Many shopping trips, in fact, are just for research, with nobody actually buying anything. Western-style marketers, no doubt, will work hard to make Chinese shoppers less careful and more impulsive–and McKinsey does in fact report that “emotional” purchases are on the rise. The race is on to see if we become more like them, or persuade them to become more like us.

Read more at finance.yahoo.com

 

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About Oliver Schmid

Experienced IT executive with over 20 years of global experience and demonstrated success in driving IT value, business and IT, reducing overall costs, and quickly executing and delivering business solutions. Member of the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP)

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