China Polling Shopping Malls, Convenience Stores To Gauge Consumer Spending

China has been looking at shopping malls and convenience stores to get a better hold on consumer spending in what has become the world’s biggest consumer market.

According to a report in Bloomberg News, China is gauging the businesses on a scale of 0 to 100, with 50 being the line between conditions that are improving and ones that are deteriorating. There are also sub-gauges, including manager expectations and the business environment in general, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement to Bloomberg.

The ministry said it will publish the results of its data in the first month of every quarter that shows activity from the previous three-month period.

“As China’s retail sales keep expanding, innovating and updating at a faster pace, shopping malls and convenience stores stand out as the most rapidly developing brick-and-mortar models,” Sun Jiwen, a ministry spokesman, told Bloomberg.

The gauge underscores the government in China’s push to track spending on the part of consumers. Consumption from consumers contributed 77.2 percent to the economic expansion during the first three months of the year, up from 64.6 percent in the year earlier. The mall index will cover 58 cities and 26 provinces, and the convenience store indicator will include surveys in greater than 30 cities, noted the report.  

The government is partnering with the China Chain Store and Franchise Association, a Beijing-based industry group, to create the consumer market index. The firm has greater than 1,000 members with 300,000 outlets, noted the report.

“The gauges will provide more information and help us understand the economy better,” Zhao Hongyan, a Hong Kong-based China economist with Huatai Financial Holdings, told Bloomberg. “Consumption has been a new growth driver, and it has been steady. We hope that it can be a more important pillar of the economy.”