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Consumer Attitudes Towards Savings - China - January 2014

The pressure to save money and improve financial status is still paramount for Chinese consumers. It is driven by both the desire to provide a comfortable long-term future, as well as the ability to meet the various big spending occasions associated with their life aspirations. This provides a major market opportunity for financial service providers to develop different savings and investment solutions to help consumers of all income levels to meet their savings goals.”

– Ruyi Xu, Deputy Research Manager

In this report, we answer the key questions:

  • What is the level of consumer savings and why do people save?
  • How do people manage to achieve their savings goals and how does this affect their decisions towards spending, saving and investing?
  • What are the considerations for choosing where to save and what makes people switch banks?
  • What are consumers’ attitudes towards savings in a time of price increases, innovations in the market, and what are the opportunities for financial service providers?
  • How can financial service providers come up with more efficient solutions and marketing to target different consumers segments, based on their needs and demographic profile?
Savings in China
 
  • The fundamental driver of savings is associated with people’s desire for better retirement and medical care
  • The rising cost of big-ticket purchases and spending occasions such as housing, child education and marriage put more Chinese consumers under pressure to save. 
  • Investments are seen as a way to combat the rising cost of living as consumers are wary that low deposit interest rates may not keep up with living costs. 
  • Commercial banks experienced a cash squeeze in June 2013 following the government’s decision to tame credit growth. This has led to competition of wealth management products among banks in order to attract more cash inflow.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Report structure
          • Methodology
            • Abbreviations
            • Executive Summary

                • Savings in China – the backdrop
                  • Consumer context
                    • Average household savings
                      • Figure 1: Monthly household savings, November 2013
                      • Figure 2: Monthly household savings, by household income, November 2013
                    • Ownership of savings and investments
                      • Figure 3: Savings/Investments currently have or plan to have in next 12 months, November 2013
                    • Why people save
                        • Figure 4: Reasons for savings/investment, November 2013
                      • Ways to achieve savings goals
                        • Figure 5: Ways to achieve savings goals, November 2013
                      • Choosing where to bank
                          • Figure 6: Most important considerations when choosing a bank to deposit savings, November 2013
                        • Attitudes towards savings
                          • Key issues
                            • Exploring opportunities according to different customer types
                              • Figure 7: Saving and investing target groups, November 2013
                            • The “leftover treasure” phenomenon shows the value of an underserved market
                              • How to attract consumers to savings products when interest rate is low
                                • Marketing financial products according to different saving needs by city
                                  • What we think
                                  • Savings in China – The Backdrop

                                    • Key points
                                      • Government and corporate savings are driving growth in gross savings
                                        • Figure 8: Gross savings rate (gross saving as a % of GDP) in China, 1982-2012
                                        • Figure 9: Share of government, corporate and household savings in China 2000 vs. 2007
                                      • Overall, people are still putting more income into savings
                                        • Figure 10: Savings deposit of households and income level in China 2003-13
                                      • Uneven distribution of household savings
                                        • Figure 11: Distribution of household savings in China, 2012
                                      • Saving to secure a more comfortable standard of living
                                          • Figure 12: National Social Security Fund System in urban China 2012
                                        • Pressure to save for big item spending is paramount
                                          • Figure 13: Comparison of average large item spending, China vs. US, 2013
                                        • The concern over not getting real returns from interest on deposits fuels investment activities
                                          • Figure 14: CPI and interest rate on deposits, China, 2010-13
                                        • Wealth management products have increased in popularity
                                          • The cash squeeze in summer 2013
                                          • The Consumer – Average Household Savings

                                            • Key points
                                              • The median claimed monthly household savings is RMB3,000 in tier-one to three cities
                                                  • Figure 15: Monthly household savings, November 2013
                                                • Between 33% and 48% of household income is put into savings
                                                  • Figure 16: Monthly household savings, by household income, November 2013
                                                • Who are more likely to be high savers?
                                                    • Figure 17: Percentages of high savers, by demographics, November 2013
                                                    • Figure 18: Percentages of high/mid/low savers, by city, November 2013
                                                • The Consumer – Ownership of Savings and Investments

                                                  • Key points
                                                    • Protective financial products come first in current ownership…
                                                      • … but demand for planned investment is stronger
                                                          • Figure 19: Savings/Investments currently have or plan to have in next 12 months, November 2013
                                                        • Both high and low savers prefer to invest money saved than to keep it in cash deposits
                                                            • Figure 20: Plans to buy savings/investment products, by savings level, November 2013
                                                          • Over half of consumers own at least one type of investment in addition to their savings
                                                              • Figure 21: Number of different of savings/investment products currently owned, November 2013
                                                              • Figure 22: Number of savings/investment products currently own, by age and gender, November 2013
                                                          • The Consumer – Why People Save

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Savings goals reflect personal effort to protect against the unexpected
                                                                  • Figure 23: Reasons for savings/investment, November 2013
                                                                • As people get older they are more likely to save for unexpected events
                                                                    • Figure 24: Selected reasons for savings/investment by age, November 2013
                                                                  • Couples tend to have more savings goals than singles
                                                                      • Figure 25: Number of different reasons for savings/investment, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                    • High-income families are more likely to save for discretional spending
                                                                        • Figure 26: Selected reasons for savings/investment, by household income, November 2013
                                                                      • Consumers from tier-one cities are more likely to save for retirement and special occasions
                                                                          • Figure 27: Saving for retirement and a specific occasion, by city tier, November 2013
                                                                      • The Consumer – Ways to Achieve Savings Goals

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Consumers prioritise increasing income first
                                                                              • Figure 28: Ways to achieve savings goals, November 2013
                                                                            • Controlling spending is more important for achieving short-term savings goals
                                                                              • Interest in financial investments is a popular action to achieve both short- and long-term savings goals
                                                                                • Figure 29: Ways to achieve savings goals through increasing income, November 2013
                                                                              • Spending control is more about getting the best deal than cutting corners
                                                                                  • Figure 30: Ways to achieve short-term savings goals, November 2013
                                                                                • People in their 20s are more likely to feel the need to cut spending to meet short-term goals
                                                                                    • Figure 31: Ways to achieve short-term savings goals, by age group, November 2013
                                                                                  • Families with children are more discerning on non-essential spending
                                                                                      • Figure 32: Selected ways to achieve short-term savings goals, by presence of children in household, November 2013
                                                                                    • Both high and low savers feel the need to spend in a smart way
                                                                                        • Figure 33: Ways to achieve savings goals, by levels of monthly savings, November 2013
                                                                                    • The Consumer – Choosing Where to Bank

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • Interest rates and location convenience are top two considerations
                                                                                            • Figure 34: Most important considerations when choosing a bank to deposit savings with, November 2013
                                                                                          • Banks need to compete on service and investment products to attract high savers
                                                                                              • Figure 35: Selected considerations when choosing a bank to deposit savings with, by monthly household savings, November 2013
                                                                                            • Online and mobile banking are more important for young savers
                                                                                                • Figure 36: People who look for convenient methods to manage savings, by gender and age, November 2013
                                                                                              • Tier-two/three consumers are more reliant on in-person services
                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Selected considerations when choosing a bank to deposit savings with, by city tiers, November 2013
                                                                                              • The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Savings

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Rising cost of living makes people eager to invest their savings
                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Attitudes towards rising cost of living and savings, November 2013
                                                                                                  • About 7 in 10 admit that saving is difficult due to rising cost of living
                                                                                                    • The majority see investing as better than keeping money as bank deposits
                                                                                                      • Consumers are keen on innovations in financial services
                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Attitudes towards innovations in savings services, November 2013
                                                                                                      • Over 70% think financial service providers like Yu’E Bao are worth investing in
                                                                                                        • Introducing financial products to help consumers achieve specific savings goals
                                                                                                            • Figure 40: Agreement with statement about innovations in savings services, by reasons to save, November 2013
                                                                                                          • Although people are keen to save, many still need help to address gaps in knowledge
                                                                                                            • Figure 41: Attitudes towards gaps in knowledge, November 2013
                                                                                                          • Women appear to be more goal-oriented than men
                                                                                                            • Still about 25% consumers hesitate to say that interest rates are easy to follow
                                                                                                              • Three in five find it difficult to understand savings products
                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Agreement on difficulty in understanding savings products, by age, November 2013
                                                                                                                • While convenience matters, not everyone wants to put all eggs in one basket
                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Attitudes towards loyalty and switching, November 2013
                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Agreement on moving savings between banks, by income and savings level, November 2013
                                                                                                              • Key Issue – Exploring Opportunities According to Different Customer Types

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Psychographic and demographic profile across three cluster groups
                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Savings and investing target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Attitudes towards savings, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                    • Knowledgeable wealth managers
                                                                                                                      • Affluent consumers with a wealth management mind-set
                                                                                                                        • Building loyalty with one bank may be a challenge
                                                                                                                          • Continuous innovation, integrated service platform and more privileges
                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Selected considerations when choosing a bank to deposit savings, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                          • Investment enthusiasts
                                                                                                                            • Not fully understanding savings products due to lack of interest
                                                                                                                              • Figure 48: Savings/investments currently owned, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                            • Eager to grow fortune in the short term
                                                                                                                              • Figure 49: Savings/investments plan to have in the next 12 months, by investment enthusiasts, November 2013
                                                                                                                            • Convenience is a driver
                                                                                                                              • Low engagers
                                                                                                                                • Not so interest rate-chasing but more concerned about service charges
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Selected considerations when choosing a bank to deposit savings, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                                • Waking their interest in saving and investing could open up more opportunities
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Ways to achieve savings goals, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Monthly household savings, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                                • Messages that encourage low engagers to overcome inertia
                                                                                                                                  • What does it mean?
                                                                                                                                  • Key Issue – The “Leftover Treasure” Phenomenon Shows the Value of an Underserved Market

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Yu’E Bao: Wealth management is for everyone
                                                                                                                                        • One million users in six days
                                                                                                                                          • Low barrier to entry, flexibility and the pleasure to see growth of spare money everyday
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 53: Yu’E Bao app shows users a database comparison on earnings, 2014
                                                                                                                                            • More businesses join the race of internet financing
                                                                                                                                              • How does it change competition?
                                                                                                                                                • A complementary rather than a substitute savings solution
                                                                                                                                                  • More opportunities for smaller players to compete
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Selected types of payment and investment related apps used, December 2013
                                                                                                                                                  • Time to turn to the underserved market
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Ownership of wealth management products, by age and income, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                  • What does it mean?
                                                                                                                                                  • Key Issue – How to Attract Consumers to Savings Products When Interest Rates are Low

                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                      • Challenge for banks to attract savings
                                                                                                                                                        • Pros and cons of wealth management products
                                                                                                                                                          • Marketing savings products in a more customer-oriented way
                                                                                                                                                            • Helping low engagers to set up regular savings account switching
                                                                                                                                                              • Encouraging young adults to save more
                                                                                                                                                                • Building their thinking over the long term
                                                                                                                                                                  • Helping them to become more independent
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Who manages household finances, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                  • Financial intelligence education to help forge rational thinking about wealth management
                                                                                                                                                                    • China lacks financial intelligence education
                                                                                                                                                                      • Long-term and short-term action points
                                                                                                                                                                        • What does it mean?
                                                                                                                                                                        • Key Issue – Marketing Financial Products According to Different Savings Needs by City

                                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                            • City-specific solutions help optimise resources and efficiency
                                                                                                                                                                              • Tier-one cities
                                                                                                                                                                                • Beijing consumers: sense of security is most important
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Reasons for saving/investing (“for sense of security”), by tier-one cities, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                • Guangzhou consumers: being prepared for a rainy day
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Reasons for saving/investing (“for emergencies” and “for retirement”), by tier-one city, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                • Shanghai consumers: more likely to save for luxury spending
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Reasons for saving/investing (“for large items”), by tier-one city, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                • Chengdu consumers: least pressured to save
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Reasons for saving/investing, by tier-one cities, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                • Tier-two/three cities
                                                                                                                                                                                  • North vs South
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Reasons for saving/investing (“for sense of security”), by tier-two/three cities, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Type of local enterprises matters
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Saving for children’s future more important in certain lower-tier cities
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 62: Reasons for saving/investing (“for children”), by tier-two/three cities, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                    • What does it mean?
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer – Average Household Savings

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Monthly household savings, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Monthly household savings, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Monthly household savings, by demographics, November 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Monthly household savings, by demographics, November 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer – Ownership of Saving/Investment Products

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Savings/investments currently have or plan to have in next 12 months, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Most popular savings/investments currently own, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 69: Most popular savings/investments currently own, by demographics, November 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 70: Most popular savings/investments plan to buy in the next 12 months, by demographics, November 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 71: Most popular savings/investments plan to buy in the next 12 months, by demographics, November 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 72: Savings/investments currently have or plan to have in next 12 months, by monthly household savings, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 73: Savings/investments currently have or plan to have in next 12 months, by reasons for saving/investing, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 74: Savings/investments currently have or plan to have in next 12 months, by reasons for saving/investing, November 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Number of products currently owned
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 75: Number of different savings/investments currently owned, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer – Why People Save

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 76: Reasons for saving/investing, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 77: Most popular reasons for saving/investing, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Most popular reasons for saving/investing, by demographics, November 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 79: Reasons for saving/investing, by monthly household savings, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Number of reasons for saving/investing
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 80: Number of reasons for saving/investing, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 81: Reasons for saving/investing, by repertoire of reasons for saving/investing, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer – Ways to Achieve Savings Goals

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 82: Ways to achieve savings goals, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 83: Most popular ways to achieve savings goals – Plan to do in the next 1-2 years, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 84: Most popular ways to achieve savings goals – Plan to do in the next 1-2 years, by demographics (continued), November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 85: Most popular ways to achieve savings goals – Plan to do in the next 1-2 years, by demographics (continued), November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 86: Most popular ways to achieve savings goals – Plan to do in the next 3 or more years, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 87: Most popular ways to achieve savings goals – Plan to do in the next 3 or more years, by demographics, November 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 88: Most popular ways to achieve savings goals – Plan to do in the next 3 or more years, by demographics, November 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 89: Ways to achieve savings goals, by monthly household savings, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 90: Ways to achieve savings goals, by reasons for saving/investing, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 91: Ways to achieve savings goals, by reasons for saving/investing, November 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Choosing Where to Bank

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 92: Consideration factors of choosing banks, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 93: Most popular consideration factors of choosing banks, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 94: Most popular consideration factors of choosing banks, by demographics, November 2013 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 95: Consideration factors of choosing banks, by monthly household savings, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Savings

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 96: Attitudes towards savings, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 97: Agreement with the statement ‘China’s rising cost of living has made it difficult to save’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 98: Agreement with the statement ‘It’s not worth saving with the current level of rising cost of living’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 99: Agreement with the statement ‘The internet has made it easier to manage personal savings’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 100: Agreement with the statement ‘Private banks offering higher returns are worth investing in’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 101: Agreement with the statement ‘I would like to see a variety of savings products that can help to achieve specific purposes’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 102: Agreement with the statement ‘It is difficult to understand savings products available’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 103: Agreement with the statement ‘It’s easy to keep updated with the latest news on interest rate changes’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 104: Agreement with the statement ‘It is important to have a clear savings objective for future’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 105: Agreement with the statement ‘Making wise investment is a better way to seeing your fortune growth than saving money with a bank’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 106: Agreement with the statement ‘It’s safer to spread savings across different banks’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 107: Agreement with the statement ‘Keeping all my savings in one bank rather than in several is more convenient for managing my finances’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 108: Agreement with the statement ‘It is worthwhile moving savings between banks to get the best rates’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 109: Attitudes towards savings, by monthly household savings, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Target Group Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 110: Savings and investing target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 111: Savings and investing target groups, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 112: Monthly household savings, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 113: Savings/investments currently have or plan to have in next 12 months, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 114: Reasons for saving/investing, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 115: Ways to achieve savings goals, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 116: Consideration factors of choosing banks, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 117: Attitudes towards savings, by target groups, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Financial Responsibility

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 118: Who manages household finance, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 119: Who manages household finance, by demographics, November 2013

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Consumer Attitudes Towards Savings - China - January 2014

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