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China's stressed middle class consumes more coffee, alcohol

2014-08-07 16:49 Xinhua Web Editor: Qin Dexing

China's middle-class consumers are buying more coffee and alcohol than the national average and living "busier" and "more stressful" lives, according to a new survey.

According to the Core Economically Active Population Survey, 73.5 percent of China's middle class agreed that their lives are increasingly busy, compared with 62.1 percent of the national average.

A total of 59.5 percent of middle-class respondents agreed that "too many things in life make me feel very stressed," higher than the average of 56.7 percent.

The survey said that 63.5 percent of middle-class respondents agreed that they want to reach the "very top" in their careers, a distant lead over the average of 55.3 percent.

The survey, released on Wednesday, was conducted by market research company CTR, a joint venture between China International TV Corp. and UK-based market research company Kantar Group.

The survey defines China's middle class not by income alone but based on a model that uses 12 income-related variables and categorizes the Chinese population by education level, residency, durable goods consumption and commercial service consumption.

The survey found that consumption of instant coffee and energy drinks by the middle class is 50 percent higher than the national average, while their consumption of ready-to-drink and non-instant coffee products is 100 percent higher than the average.

The middle class also consumes milk, fruit juice, ready-to-drink tea and yogurt more often, according to the survey.

Alcohol categories hold a higher appeal for middle-class consumers than other groups as well, the survey said. More than half (56.1 percent) of middle-class shoppers drink beer versus 43.1 percent for the average.

Wine, which is commonly associated with middle-class tastes in China, has won over one-third (33.4 percent) of middle-class consumers, while on average only one-fifth (20.9 percent) of urban Chinese drink it.

China's favorite spirit, baijiu or "white liquor," is consumed by about a quarter (24.9 percent) of the middle class, compared to 18.8 percent of the average, according to the survey.

The survey also showed that the number of consumers buying pure fruit juice, considered a healthy drink by many, is 41.6 percent among the middle stratum, compared with 26.3 percent for the average.p Such choices may contribute to the group's growing health awareness, as 57.5 percent of the middle class agreed that "my diet is healthier than before," 3.1 percentage points higher than the average, the survey showed.

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