China Retail March 2021


China: Retail sales growth gains momentum in March

April 16, 2021

Retail sales increased 34.2% compared to the same month of the previous year in March, which was above January–February's 33.8% increase. The reading marked the strongest expansion since January 1995, but was flattered by the highly favorable base effect.

On a monthly basis, retail sales increased 1.8% in seasonally-adjusted terms in March, which was above February’s 1.5% expansion. Meanwhile, annual average retail sales growth rose to 8.9% in March (February: +4.7%), which marked an over two-year high.

Stronger private spending should be an important growth driver this year—after lagging other indicators such as industrial production in 2020—as sentiment improves and the labor market strengthens.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast participants expect retail sales to increase 12.9% in 2021, which is up 0.3 percentage points from last month’s estimate. In 2022, the panel foresees retail sales expanding 7.4%.


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China Retail Chart

China Retail March 2021

Note: Month-on-month changes of seasonally adjusted nominal retail sales index and year-on-year variation in %. Owing to seasonal factors related to the Lunar New Year, annual figures for January and February are reported together.
Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS) and FocusEconomics calculations.

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