6/20/2016

Why Chinese Moms Are the World's Most Important Consumers


The big China consumer stories of the past year have included a vaccine scandal, food contamination scares, surging overseas home buying, and continued rising consumption by urban families.

These stories, in reality, are mostly about Chinese women as an ascending consumer class. More specifically, they are about Chinese moms, who are quickly becoming the most important consumers on the planet.

My argument for this is five points:

Point #1: Chinese mothers are the major driving force behind increasing Chinese household consumption.

There are an estimated 320M moms in China, making them roughly the same size as the entire US population. And they are the trifecta of Chinese consumer spending.
  • First, Chinese mothers have their own personal spending power and typically contribute 50% of the family income.
  • Second, they direct household spending. In a 2010 MasterCard report, 75% of Chinese women said they control the family spending. This can be the wife approving expenditures above a certain level. And in some cases, Chinese wives control the bank accounts and then give the husband cash to use. The standard joke is the husband buys the home but the wife runs and furnishes it.
  • Third, Chinese mothers often control the spending related to the retired parents. This is particularly true for the larger expenditures such as housing and medical costs.
So in many families, Chinese moms are effectively directing the spending across three generations.
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