BEIJING — China’s retail sales of consumer goods, a key indicator of consumption, grew 10.4 percent year on year in 2016, the same as the first three quarters, official data showed on Jan 20.
Retail sales grew 9.6 percent year on year after deducting price factors, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Total retail sales of consumer goods hit 33.23 trillion yuan ($4.84 trillion) last year.
The data showed strong consumption potential in rural areas, with retail sales expanding 10.9 percent, outpacing the 10.4 percent rate in urban areas.
The NBS said that retail sales of communication equipment and housing goods had grown fast. Sales of communication equipment jumped 11.9 percent year on year, furniture went up 12.7 percent, and building and decoration materials climbed 14 percent.
The catering industry garnered 3.58 trillion yuan in revenue last year, up 10.8 percent year on year.
Online sales boomed, surging 26.2 percent year on year to reach 5.16 trillion yuan.
Per capita spending was 17,111 yuan, representing a nominal growth of 8.9 percent year on year, though real growth was 6.8 percent after deducting price factors.
In December, nominal growth of retail sales was 10.9 percent year on year, slightly higher than the 10.8 percent increase in November.
Retail sales contributed significantly to China’s economic growth as the country shifts from an export-driven economy to a consumer society.
Consumption contributed 64.6 percent of China’s economic expansion in 2016, the NBS said.
Retail sales of consumer goods are expected to jump by 10.2 percent year on year to exceed 37 trillion yuan in 2017, contributing more than 70 percent of the country’s economic growth, according to a report issued by the China General Chamber of Commerce.
China’s economy grew 6.7 percent year on year in 2016, well within the government’s annual growth target of 6.5 to 7 percent.