As an exploratory study on rural and urban consumers in an emerging market like China, this paper presents empirical evidence about the impacts of economic development on consumer lifestyles. Chinese rural and urban consumers were found to be statistically different in terms of their attitudes toward the whole marketing mix: product price, brand names, promotions and distribution. Possibly as a result of these disparate attitudes, rural and urban consumers were found to use different products to reflect the improvement of their living standards. All of these previous differences might be due to the fact that rural and urban Chinese consumers have different needs, as indicated by the words they chose to describe their ideal image. These lifestyle differences reveal huge marketing potentials for MNCs and other foreign investors, who will ultimately move into China's relatively untapped rural regions for marketing opportunities.
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