Con­sumers will­ing to pay for im­proved ex­pe­ri­ence

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By LIU WEIFENG

When I spent 4,000 yuan ($588) on a 55-inch smart TV dur­ing the Sin­gles Day shop­ping spree last Novem­ber, I re­garded it as a re­ally good deal, as I had saved about 1,000 yuan and also ob­tained an 80-month sub­scrip­tion to view ad­di­tional con­tent.

But, when I spent the same amount of money on a vac­uum cleaner last month, I thought it was quite ex­pen­sive.

Both are home ap­pli­ances, so why do they give me such dif­fer­ent feel­ings? I can­not help ask­ing my­self that ques­tion.

The su­per­fi­cial rea­son maybe lies in how the items are used. I started watch­ing TV when I was a 2-year-old. We had a 12-inch black-and-white TV set, a lo­cal brand named Panda, in my par­ents’ home in a small city in Cen­tral China’s He­nan prov­ince in 1981, and then up­graded to an 18-inch color TV in 1986, an­other lo­cal brand called Great Wall.

The Ja­panese car­toon se­ries The Flower An­gel and The Smart Lit­tle Monk Ikkyu-san and US an­i­ma­tion Mickey Mouse and Don­ald Duck and the Czech car­toon Mole, which I watched on TV were an un­for­get­table part of my child­hood memory.

But the older I got, the less time I was will­ing to spend watch­ing TV. We don’t even turn it on at all for weeks now. The big-screen LED TV in my liv­ing room is now more like a house­hold or­na­ment than a real ap­pli­ance.

I got my first vac­uum cleaner 12 years ago when I moved into my own home in Bei­jing after get­ting mar­ried.

Ac­tu­ally, I use the vac­uum cleaner al­most as of­ten as the tril­lion TV, once a week on the week­end.

Now, I sel­dom turn on the TV, partly be­cause I need more time to take care of my son and try to pro­tect him from be­ing got ad­dic­tion of watch­ing any elec­tronic de­vices, in­clud­ing TV.

When­ever I want to fol­low any Chi­nese or foreign soap opera, I al­ways turn to my iPhone. Ly­ing down any­where, be it a sofa, cush­ion or bed, hold­ing the phone is an en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

Be­fore I got this new vac­uum cleaner, I re­ally hated the noise, un­pleas­ant smell and cord trou­ble my old vac­uum gave me.

The new one is a rev­o­lu­tion­ary prod­uct, cord-free, has­sle-free, low noise, with hepa air pu­ri­fier and mul­ti­ple clean­ing heads. It has greatly raised my will­ing­ness to use it since it’s more like a clean­ing toy rather than a house­hold ap­pli­ance.

The truth is, now in China, peo­ple are will­ing to pay what can bring them bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence, be it a prod­uct-gen­er­ated ex­pe­ri­ence, ser­vice or en­vi­ron­ment.

China is en­ter­ing a con­sump­tion-driven growth stage, and along with peo­ple’s ba­sic need for hous­ing, food, clothes and trans­porta­tion, they have an in­creas­ingly grow­ing ap­petite for qual­ity prod­ucts and bet­ter ser­vices.

Con­sump­tion ac­counts for a grow­ing share of China’s GDP in the past years. Its con­tri­bu­tion to GDP has risen from 45.7 per­cent in 2008 to 66.4 per­cent in 2015.

For the Jan­uary-March pe­riod, Chi­nese con­sumers ac­counted for 77.2 per­cent of its econ­omy, higher than the same pe­riod last year, which stood at 64.6 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­port by The Bos­ton Con­sult­ing Group.

By 2021, Chi­nese con­sumers are poised to add $1.8 tril­lion to the econ­omy, which is equiv­a­lent to the cur­rent con­sump­tion size of Ger­many, cited the re­port, re­leased in late June.

Chi­nese tourists have been a phe­nom­e­non in re­cent years. The older gen­er­a­tion are known for their ex­trav­a­gance for snap­ping up l ux­ury bags in Europe and the United States, but fru­gal when it comes to ac­com­mo­da­tion and food.

How­ever, the ris­ing mid­dle-class and mil­len­ni­als have greater will­ing­ness to book star-rated ho­tels and taste lo­cal food at fine restau­rants.

Back in 1981, when each of my par­ents’ monthly pay was no more than 50 yuan, the 399-yuan 12-inch Panda TV cost one-third of the fam­ily’s an­nual in­come.

Now in my daily life, noth­ing among daily ne­ces­si­ties or home ap­pli­ances could cost me a sin­gle month’s pay. The big spend­ing is for hous­ing, a car, ed­u­ca­tion and travel.

It seems my only big an­nual spend­ing is travel, be­ing a con­trib­u­tor to the 122 mil­lion out­bound trips made by Chi­nese peo­ple last year.

Chi­nese con­sumers’ con­tri­bu­tion to econ­omy by 2021

Con­tact the writer at li­uweifeng@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

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