Opinion / Editorials

Big vote of confidence in future by consumers

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-12 07:47

Big vote of confidence in future by consumers

The big screen shows live data of gross merchandise volume of the 2015 Tmall Global Shopping Festival on Nov 11, 2015. [Photo provided to]

Amid global fears about China's economic slowdown, the jaw-dropping amount that Chinese consumers spent on Wednesday was a much-needed display of China's huge potential domestic consumption, which if realized would be a key growth engine for the world's second-largest economy and the global recovery as well.

However, while noting Chinese consumers' eagerness and ability to spend so much during the Singles' Day online shopping gala, policymakers should double their efforts to improve the market environment so as to make every day a shopping day.

The 11/11 online sales jamboree reached $9.3 billion last year - the first time the event was expanded globally. This year China's e-commerce giant Alibaba has reported that shoppers spent around $9 billion in the first 12 hours of Wednesday.

No wonder China's leading e-commerce giants have beaten their own sales records this year, and sales are matching the US' Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

It might be tempting to underestimate the significance of such breathtaking growth in online sales as merely a short-lived phenomenon of pent-up consumption being released in one day.

But China's online sales, after soaring 40 percent in 2014, jumped another 36.2 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters to reach 2.6 trillion yuan ($413 billion). This indicates the surge in online consumption is more robust than expected and is in line with the country's overall retail growth, which is around 10 percent.

Compared to China's shrinking trade and slowed investment, the growth momentum of domestic consumption is clearly much more inspiring and fits into the economic restructuring agenda.

The ongoing economic slowdown does speak of the reality that China's consumption growth is still not strong enough to take up the slack of other growth engines. But Chinese consumers' enthusiasm to spend increasingly more online should be a cause for optimism as the country is resolved to transform its growth model into a more sustainable one driven by consumption.

As Chinese policymakers are considering more fiscal support to help stabilize the economy and achieve sustainable medium-speed growth, it looks more worthwhile than ever to introduce tax reductions to further tap into the proven potential of domestic consumption.

For the rest of the world to benefit from the rise of Chinese consumers, it is of little use weeping over Chinese factories' decreasing appetites for oil and ores. Instead, it is time to win orders from Chinese consumers.

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