Demographics and Consumption Patterns in Urban
Farhat Yusuf Æ Gordon Brooks
Received: 8 September 2008 / Accepted: 25 June 2009 / Published online: 9 July 2009
Ó Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009
Abstract This study examines differences among urban Chinese consumers and
their consumption patterns in three major cities—Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin—
utilising data from a nationally representative sample survey conducted in 2005.
Differences were found in these consumers’ age distribution, education level,
household composition, birth and death rates, income, expenditure patterns and
consumer durable ownership rates. Beijing and Shanghai, the two most afﬂuent
cities in China, exhibited the highest consumer durable ownership rates and the
highest cost of living. While previous research has frequently segmented China in
terms of a rural versus urban dichotomy or by geographic region, this study suggests
that the urban Chinese do not constitute a homogeneous market. Further, it is
suggested that both geographic region and income, which varies between rural and
urban settings, are sound bases for segmenting this important market.
Keywords China Á Consumption patterns Á Demographics Á
The increasing prominence of China on the world stage is evident in many areas. In
October 2003 they became only the third country to achieve manned space ﬂight.
August 2008 saw Beijing host the summer Olympic Games. Economically, China is
one of the largest and fastest growing consumer markets in the world. For example,
its domestic market for consumer electronics (video, audio and game console
products) and personal computers is expected to be worth US$50 billion in 2011,
having grown by 20% in the 3 years since 2008 (Datamonitor 2007a, b).
F. Yusuf (&) Á G. Brooks
Department of Business, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
Popul Res Policy Rev (2010) 29:5–17