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Restaurant Spending Increases Among Shanghainese

Most Shanghai residents saw their spending on food, education, books and magazines jump significantly last year compared with 2003, a recent survey suggests.


Horizon research Group (Shanghai) surveyed 404 local residents, aged 39 on average, over the telephone about changes to their consumption habits over the past year.


Most people said that their living and consumption situation remained almost the same over the past two years, while about a quarter of the respondents said their living standard has improved slightly.


The respondents had an average monthly income of 2,343 yuan (US$282) last year, about the same as in 2003, the survey said.


More than 42 percent of people surveyed said that they spent more on dining out at restaurants last year, as spending on food grew faster last year than on any other expense.


The survey indicated that about 16 percent of respondents even said their food expenses surged by 30 percent or more last year compared with 2003.


"As eating is the most basic daily consumption item for human beings, it's natural for people in modern cities to spend more in dining out, especially after the SARS epidemic in 2003," said Michael Shen, a sales manager at a local US-invested IT company.


Deng Xin, fieldwork supervisor at Horizon Research, said relatively smaller price increases at local restaurants compared with other consumption items also contributed to the eating expenditure's top place last year.


Similar surveys in previous years indicated that eating followed entertainment and book purchases to rank third in the expenditure increase list, Deng added.


Meanwhile, nearly 31 percent of people surveyed voted children's study fees and other extracurricular course tuition as their largest expenditure increase.


Spending on reading materials also followed as 30 percent of respondents said that they spent more buying books and magazines, the survey suggested.


But locals' spending on park or museum tickets saw the largest decrease in the past year, followed by spending on clothing and other entertainment items.


(eastday.com January 5, 2005)

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