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COVID's end will not bring back China's free-spending shoppers

Pandemic-driven shift toward essentials and online retail likely to be long-term

| China
Residents visit reopened retail shops in Beijing on May 29: The new way of thinking is shared by a broad swathe of consumers.   © AP

Karl Shen is director of China corporate research at Fitch Ratings. Jenny Huang is senior director of China corporate research at Fitch.

Brand-conscious consumers and eager spenders have dominated the shopping scene in China over the past decade, but many started to question their consumption-oriented lifestyles after COVID-19 lockdowns spread across the country earlier this year and economic growth became sluggish.

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