Keeping a close watch on the Chinese consumer is the main pastime of economists these days. Since trade pressures have had a measurable effect on the manufacturing sector of the Chinese economy, it is natural to watch the effect they’re having on the other side, the consumer.
Based on the year-over-year expenditures-per-capita increase of 14.8% in 2018 compared to 2017, it seems that consumers are holding up pretty well. The only area of steep purchasing decline was seen in the automobile sector. Balancing against the auto decline are the dramatic expenditure increases in service categories like healthcare, leisure and travel healthcare expenditures.
Tianjie He, senior economist at Oxford Economics, wrote in January, “The fact that retail sales excluding cars (have) held up well and consumer confidence has also improved indicate that concerns about China’s consumers are largely overdone.” Source: CNBC