Most Chinese shoppers are very cautious when going out, survey finds

Shoppers enter a newly opened Sam’s Club in Beijing on December 23, 2022, the chain’s fourth store in the Chinese capital.

Zhao Jun | China News Service | Getty Images

BEIJING — Most Chinese still don’t want to leave their apartments, despite an easing of Covid-related restrictions, a survey by Oliver Wyman has found.

More than 90% of consumers surveyed over the weekend said they avoided going out, the consultancy said. Nearly 60% of respondents said they would not be comfortable going out in public for at least the next few months.

After months of increasingly stringent measures to control Covid-19 outbreaks, mainland China suddenly ended most restrictions in early December. Meanwhile, infections began to rise in Beijing and subsequently in other cities, such as Shanghai. Visits to fever clinics have skyrocketed, putting pressure on an already strained public health system.

“We observed that many high streets and malls were deserted in December,” Kenneth Chow, director of Oliver Wyman, said in an email this week.

“Due to the increase in infection, many companies we have spoken with have expressed concerns about labor shortages as a significant portion of their staff have fallen ill and some are struggling to maintain their level of service,” Chow said.

Anecdotally, while many more people hit Beijing’s malls and attractions over the weekend, not all stores had reopened yet. Venues were modestly crowded, but not to the crowded levels that were typical for the city of 22 million before the pandemic.

There is no return to zero-COVID for China, says Patrick Chovanec of Silvercrest

Only 8% of consumers surveyed were comfortable going out right now, Oliver Wyman said.

The study included 4,500 Chinese over the age of 16, in all city sizes, and weighted to be representative of China’s urban population.

Local interest in saving rather than spending has peaked this year, according to surveys conducted over the past two decades by the People’s Bank of China.

Nearly 62% of respondents said they would rather save than spend or invest, according to fourth-quarter results released Tuesday. That’s up from around 58% earlier this year.

People who planned to spend more were the most interested in doing so on health care and education, the survey found.

General travel caution

And despite data showing renewed interest in travel, Oliver Wyman’s survey indicated that most Chinese remain cautious.

Less than a fifth of respondents said they planned to travel during the upcoming Lunar New Year in late January, the consultancy said, noting that Chinese people were more interested in travel if they were wealthier.

However, the survey was conducted before China announced on Monday that from January 8 travelers would no longer need to self-quarantine upon arrival in the mainland.

Author: niso

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *