It is clear that the role of the affluent Chinese consumer in is becoming increasingly important as the country transitions and continues its efforts of steering the economy toward consumption and away from investment.
As much as the middle class is growing in China and the country has an established class of ultra wealthy, the affluent are growing rapidly, and by 2020, households with an income of over $100, 000 per year will play a significant role in China’s consumption-driven economy, according to Vincent Liu, a Partner in Boston Consulting Group and co-author of a recent report on the Chinese affluent class entitled “The Age of the Affluent: The Dynamics of China’s Next Consumption Engine.”
“These are the people who will make for the real consumption base in China,” Liu said. “They not only have the resources, they also have the desire and the willingness to purchase premium goods and service.”
The affluent, who are mainly business owners and salaried executives, want it all, Liu said. They want cars, watches, fashionable clothes, fine food, and they have the means to spend for their desires, he said.
Beyond China, the affluent class of consumers will also have a material impact on global economic growth. Chinese affluent consumers will account for 5% of global consumption by 2020, according to a Boston Consulting’s report.
In China, wages have increased by more than 20% in the past few years, said Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group. “That means more affluence and a taste for the best of everything. Looking at the sales of luxury consumer items from France, Italy and other places to the Chinese consumer, clearly the Chinese already are having a big impact and they will have a larger impact going forward in view of their rapid increase in wealth,” he said.