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Beyond present into the future

The new aspirations of China’s middle class (part 3 out of 4)


Access to a higher standard of living allows the Chinese middle class to look further than the present to anticipate and secure the future. Within all population strata keeping healthy is considered the first factor of happiness in life and the share of wallet dedicated to the family’s health increases regularly. Besides, the Chinese middle class has a high tendency to save: in a recent Ifop survey 79% of Chinese declare they save money on a regular basis, and the way they allocate this money is directed in priority towards long term projects such as housing, education of child and retirement. These aspirations carry the upcoming shift of the country towards an economy of services.

Simultaneously, the Chinese middle class is more and more sensitive to some of the negative effects of the consumption society, pollution and food safety in particular. The former has become a major worry in Tier 1 and 2 cities, and the latter is sensitive everywhere but more particularly in Tier 4 cities were the level of supervision by local authorities is perceived as lower and safety equipment more limited. On these matters, the willingness to act at the individual level, notably via more sustainable consumption behavior, is developing essentially in Tier 1 cities and within the younger and culturally more open strata of population. But it will expand further and brands increasingly need to deliver messages and proof of socially responsible actions if they want to stay in touch with the expectations of the rising middle class.


Article written by Christophe Jourdain, Ifop International Director.