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Shopping habits of China’s emerging middle class

China’s slowing economy is likely to stabilize in 2013, with consumer spending being the main category to drive growth, predicts the Economist.

That’s probably welcome news to the Chinese government, which has been trying to boost domestic consumer spending for years amid weak demand for Chinese exports elsewhere in the world. Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported:

The Communist Party’s latest five-year development plan calls for more than quadrupling annual e-commerce volume from 2010 levels to 18 trillion yuan ($2.9 trillion) by 2015.

Chinese people view marriage advertisements during a matchmaking party to mark Singles Day. Photo: EPA/WU HONG

If a new joint report on Chinese consumers is to be believed, consumers are eager to open their wallets.

Through surveys and social media analysis, business consultancies MEC and CIC highlighted 10 “trends” for consumers in China, most of which are typical of buyers in growing economies.

Consumers are spending more both on the very old and the very young, on leisure activities such as movies and on higher-quality products, the report concludes. Basically, they’re becoming more like U.S. shoppers (okay, perhaps pre-recession U.S. shoppers), but with a distinctly Chinese twist. Here are some of the more revealing points:

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