travel and entertainment in its myriad forms. Those are the sectors
that stand to gain most from the ageing of China's population,
according to the latest edition of PricewaterhouseCoopers' annual
report on the retail and consumer industries.

China is ageing faster than expected and more than 10% of the 1.3bn population is 60 or above.

The consequent drop in the number of children will cause China to
spend relatively less spending on toys, games and children clothing,
and households with no children will have more to spend on items such
as home improvements, travel, entertainment and consumer electronics.

But given the well-known competitive pressures in consumer electronics — see this recent EngagingChina story on TV makers — I'd opt for one of the other sectors if I was a western business looking to play the “ageing China” card.

The increase in China's ageing population will also increase demand
for healthcare, pharmaceuticals and insurance, just like it has in the

And that perhaps is the key take-home from the PwC report. In terms
of consumer behaviour, China's evolution is really no different from
what has happened in other economies in the west and elsewhere. The
only difference is the size of the opportunity and the speed with which
its economy has developed.

The PwC report contains a wealth of more detailed information on
China's consumer market and we'll revisit it in the near future. For
those who cannot wait and have the time to plough through 40 pages it
can be downloaded here (pdf).

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