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Shoppers buy up big on healthcare
( 2003-07-03 09:58) (China Daily)

Chinese consumers have spent more time and money on their health and outdoor activities in response to the SARS outbreak.

A survey launched yesterday by Horizon Research Group found that most consumers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou now consider health a top priority when they buy goods.

The poll involved telephone interviews with 847 respondents in the country's three major cities.

More than 87 per cent of respondents said they would buy goods that were good for their health.

"Products with extra health-related features will sell well in the post-SARS period. They include air-conditioners that produce oxygen and washing machines with disinfection functions," said Ling Chao, a researcher from the company.

More than 23.4 per cent of respondents in Beijing said they now spend more money on healthcare products such as tonics. The figures in Shanghai and Guangzhou are 18.6 per cent and 17.8 per cent respectively.

Outdoor activities also grew in popularity in Beijing during and after the epidemic.

Every public park was filled with people seeking fresh air, playing badminton or exercising on weekends.

Nearly 57 per cent of respondents said they will continue regular outdoor activities.

Only 49 per cent said they did outdoor activities before the disease emerged.

People's spending habits are changing as their health awareness increases, Ling said.

More than 79.3 per cent of respondents said they are more likely to buy fresh green vegetables, disinfectant and body-building equipment in the future, while only 61.9 per cent said they used to make such purchases.

A bicycle shop in Beijing sold more than 6,000 bikes a day in late May and some healthcare books have become bestsellers.

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