Western retailers set to tap Chinese consumption power in 2020: Nielsen exec

By Chu Daye Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/7 21:03:40

Justin Sargent, president of Nielsen China Photo: Courtesy of Nielsen

More big-name Western retailers are expected to set up more outlets in China to tap the burgeoning spending power of the nation's consumers, a senior executive at data analytics company Nielsen said on Tuesday.

Some observers believe that China is poised to surpass the US in terms of retail sales, and several big Western retail names -- from Canadian winter clothing maker Canada Goose and US supermarket giant Costco to UK premium department store Harrods -- are speeding up efforts to expand in China. 

"With China forecast to be the biggest country in the world in terms of GDP in the coming years, you sort of have to be in China," Justin Sargent, president of Nielsen China, told the Global Times on Tuesday in an exclusive interview.

One of the latest examples is New York's iconic hamburger restaurant Shake Shack, which is finalizing the decorations for its first shop in Beijing's downtown Sanlitun shopping area.

The country's 400 million-some middle-class consumers, who are "obviously looking to improve their lifestyles with more experiences," will prompt more foreign retailers offering premium retail propositions to expand in China, according to Sargent. 

The trend will be underpinned by China's buoyant consumer confidence, despite a surge in inflation primarily caused by soaring pork prices, said Sargent.

China's inflation level rose to a 94-month high in November, according to official data released in December.

China is believed to have become the world's top retail market in 2019, displacing the US for the first time, according to media reports in December.

Foreign companies that have products and services that meet Chinese consumers' needs in terms of the environment or the pursuit of better health, or those that can leverage themselves on the advent of 5G wireless telecommunication technologies in China, will be in a strong position, Sargent noted.


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