Service accounts for 54.9% of per capita consumer spending in Beijing

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The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics on Monday released figures showing that the growth driver of its consumer market in 2018 was service spending, which accounted for 54.9% of per capital consumer spending and represented an increase of 10 percentage points from 2015.

Beijing's consumer market has gone through dramatic changes since the founding of the People's Republic of China. In 1949, the total retail sales of social consumer goods in Beijing was 280 million yuan, only 0.02% of that of 2018. Since 1978, the consumer market in Beijing has undergone four rounds of upgrade.

The fourth round started from 2008. Since that year, the growth rate of the retail market began to slow down, while service spending started to develop rapidly. During this period, total retail sales increases by 71.93 billion yuan on average each year, registering an average annual increase of 10.7%. The proportion of information and culture-related consumer good has been increasing. Meanwhile, consumer demand has gradually shifted from commodities to services.

The booming service spending in Beijing has several characteristics, according to the city's statistics authority. The spending has developed from meeting people's basic needs to development-oriented and quality-oriented, from homogeneity to pluralistic offerings that cater to personalized needs, and it has witnessed the breakthroughs made with the internet economy. Constantly emerging technologies like mobile internet, big data, and cloud computing, together with innovations of business modes, have profoundly reshaped the way people buy goods and services. They stimulated new demands, and the boundaries of service spending is expanding all the time.

In the years to come, more consumer demands are expected to emerge with the steady growth of personal income, wider applications of new technologies like 5G, implementation of tax and fee reduction policies, and initiatives to promote consumer spending. This will push the consumer structure to be further optimized, and consumer spending will remain a key pillar for Beijing to shift its economy to a high-quality growth path.

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