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Nielsen Survey: Health Issues, Unexpected Household Emergencies And Children’s Future Top 3 Priorities For Current Saving Plan Among Chinese Consumers

Contact:
Sue Feng, sue.feng@nielsen.com, 010-5912-9195

Health Issues Top Priority for Active Saving; Nearly Half of the Chinese Respondents Actively Save for Children’s Future

SHANGHAI – February 12, 2014 – According to a new study by Nielsen, eight out of 10 Chinese respondents (82%) believe they will achieve all their financial goals for the future. But of those only 35 percent trust their current planning will be enough while 47 percent say they will need to closely monitor and adjust investment from time to time to best meet their financial expectations.

“Preparing for one’s financial future or for the unexpected is always a tradition among Chinese consumers, and this high-level confidence in China (vs. 69% global average) is also a reflection of the volume of income Chinese consumers have dedicated, as well as the increased income contributions they’ve made towards investment, over the past 12 months,” said Kevin Wang, Director of Nielsen China. According the survey, 30 percent of the Chinese respondents who actively save dedicate 21- 30 percent of their household income to fulfil their combined financial goals.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Saving and Investment Strategies polled more than 30,000 Internet respondents in 60 countries to evaluate how consumers around the world are preparing for current and future financial expenses. Nielsen evaluated 16 different saving and investment strategies used to fund a range of 14 long- and short-term financial goals. These goals included: health issues, unexpected household emergencies, higher education, children’s future, marriage, loss of job/income, first-time main home property purchase, retirement fund, personal luxury purchase, having a baby, financial legacy, starting a business, upgraded property purchase, and second-home/vacation property purchase.

Health Issues are a Top Priority for Active Saving

When it comes to saving for health issues, the percentage of global respondents who are currently saving (42%) is slightly higher than the portion who plan to save in the future (41%). In China, however, that gap is much larger, with 64 percent of respondents actively saving for health issues, compared to 34 percent who plan to save in the future.

“The 30-percentage-point gap between the active savers and future savers for health issues again, indicates the strong and growing willingness of Chinese consumers to invest now to keep healthy,” said Wang. “Thanks to ongoing health care reform and better medical insurance coverage in China in the future, the focus of this strong intention to actively save for the health issues will likely be diverted from paying for huge medical bills to spending more on products and services that could keep them in a good shape, which in return, will further boost China’s health-related consumption market.”

According to the survey, half of the Chinese respondents (vs. 46% for global average) said they were three or more years away from feeling financially secure for health issues, and among them, 11 percent feel they need at least 20 years to fulfill this goal. To accomplish all this saving, respondents in China are likely to employ diversified strategies in saving for health issues, with local currency (including current savings and time-deposit) as the most frequently used method (60%), followed by whole-life insurance (40%) and pure term life insurance (28%).

Chinese respondents were more active savers than the global average in five out of the 14 long- and short-term financial goals the survey covered. In addition to health issues, top Chinese saving priorities were: unexpected household emergencies (53% active savers vs. 42% future savers); children’s future (49% active savers vs. 42% future savers); personal luxury purchase (43% active savers vs. 42% future savers), and first-time main home property purchase (40% active savers vs. 35% future savers).

Saving for their Children’s Future

Nearly half of the Chinese respondents (49%) are actively engaged in saving for children’s future (including both education and other living expenses), exceeding the global average of 34 percent. For those who are presently saving, 16 percent of them allocate the highest contribution each month for achieving this goal.

“With only one child in the family and amid the fierce competition in the job market, Chinese parents all try their best within their ability to ensure their children receive a good education from an early age, and this includes lots of other expenses beyond the compulsory education,” said Wang. “As China is likely to see an increasing number of two-kid families in the next couple of years thanks to the new family planning policy, we tend to see both short- and long-term saving strategies that are dedicated specifically to the high cost of ensuring that children receive high-quality education.”

This is not a short-term commitment, nearly half of the Chinese respondents (47%) say they need more than five years (with some needing more than 20 years) to achieve their goals. And as with health savings, Chinese consumers use multiple investment products to fund their children’s future. Local currency (66%) is most common, followed by children’s education funds (45%) and saving plans (33%).

Future Investment Plans Are Stronger Than Current Saving Activities

Across all 14 long- and short-term financial goals reviewed, Chinese respondents’ intentions to save in the future are stronger than current saving activities for nine goals. This is especially true for: intentions to fund retirement (48% future savers vs. 44% active savers); preparing for loss of job/income (45% future savers vs. 39% active savers); funding a second home/vacation property purchase (46% future savers vs. 34% active savers); and preparing a financial legacy (53% future savers vs. 20% active savers).

“The greater number of respondents planning to save in the future versus saving now suggests an opportunity to better educate consumers on the saving and investment strategies that will help them meet their financial goals,” said Wang.!“It also shines a light on the growing wealth accumulation among consumers in the more developing regions of the world and their aspirations for upward mobility with a more secure financial future.”

About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey of Saving and Investment Strategies was conducted between Aug. 14 and Sept. 6, 2013, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers, and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Survey, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

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