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China's retail sales up 7.2% in 2023

Xinhua | January 17, 2024


Customers shop at a supermarket in Shijiazhuang, north China's Hebei Province, Dec. 9, 2023.(Photo by Jia Minjie/Xinhua)

China's retail sales of consumer goods, a major indicator of the country's consumption strength, climbed 7.2 percent year on year in 2023, official data showed Wednesday.

Total retail sales of consumer goods reached 47.15 trillion yuan (about 6.63 trillion U.S. dollars) last year, hitting a record high, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

In December alone, the retail sales of consumer goods rose 7.4 percent year on year and 0.42 percent from last month, according to the NBS.

In 2023, consumption became the main driving force for economic growth again, said Kang Yi, head of the NBS.

The annual contribution of final consumption expenditure to China's economic growth was 82.5 percent last year, improving by 43.1 percentage points year on year, said Kang.

Retail sales in the country's urban regions rose 7.1 percent year on year in 2023, while that in rural areas expanded 8 percent.

Online retail sales jumped 11 percent year on year to 15.43 trillion yuan last year. In particular, online retail sales of physical goods rose 8.4 percent year on year to 13.02 trillion yuan, accounting for 27.6 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods.

Kang predicted that consumption will maintain decent growth in the next stage, as there are many favorable conditions to support its continuous recovery.

China's consumption potential is still huge, said Kang, adding that the super-large market with a population of over 1.4 billion, the steady advancement of urbanization and the upgrading of consumption structure have provided broad space for the growth of consumption.

Also, the employment situation is generally improving with the economic recovery, which may bring higher incomes to residents, providing a solid foundation for the improvement of consumption power.

Kang noted that bright spots in consumption continue to emerge, including digital consumption, green consumption, health consumption, entertainment consumption, as well as consumption in smart homes, tourism, sports events and "China-chic" products.

On expanding domestic demand, efforts should be made to stimulate consumption with potentials and expand productive investment to create a virtuous cycle of mutual promotion between consumption and investment, according to the annual Central Economic Work Conference held in December 2023.

Policy incentives will be rolled out to stabilize and expand traditional consumption, cultivate new consumption and improve the consumption environment, said Kang.