Official numbers may suggest a rosier 2017 for China, but the bottom lines of the country's top consumer firms - from brewers to noodle makers and cinema chains - paint a patchy picture of spending in the world's second-largest economy.
Tsingtao Brewery, China's number two brewer, posted its steepest drop in net profit in 20 years last week, blaming tough competition and weak demand. Noodle maker Tingyi saw profits drop by a third.
China's top cinema operator Wanda Cinema Line saw 2016 profits rise 15.2 percent - down from growth of nearly 50 percent the year before, as broader box office sales stalled. IMAX China's profit tumbled, too.
"There's still a tonne of room for growth, but these markets are much more competitive now and even bigger brands are starting to struggle," said Ben Cavender, Shanghai-based principal at China Market Research Group.
"Consumers are becoming more cagey about how they're spending their money, (from) food to clothing and movies."
Increased caution - and sophistication - will push companies to innovate, and to spend more to fend off competitors, if they are to survive, analysts said.
After growing at the slowest pace in 26 years in 2016, official data have indicated a strong start to the economy this year, supported by bank lending, a government infrastructure spree and a much-needed resurgence in private investment.