Chinese consumer spending is in better shape than indicated by retail sales data, analysts say, in what could be a positive sign amid a disconcerting slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
Retail sales growth may have faltered in 2018, but experts say that's only one piece of the puzzle in an increasingly complex consumer landscape.
China's retail sales figures are part of an eagerly-awaited set of monthly data that includes readings on industrial production and fixed asset investment.
In 2018, retail sales growth slowed to 6.9 percent after adjustment for inflation, hit hard by weak auto sales. That compared with an increase of about 9 percent the year before.
The problem is that investors pay too much attention to that metric, said Christopher Wood, equity strategist at financial firm CLSA, who added that that measure includes purchases of goods but hardly any services.