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Brief Published: 22 Aug 2014

Middle-Class China: Stressed Out

Almost 74% said their lives had become "increasingly busy"

China's middle classes are leading busier and more stressful lives compared to the rest of the country, according to a new survey released this month by market research firm CTR, a partnership between China International TV Corp and global market research company Kantar.

The survey, which defined middle class based on income-related variables including education and consumption levels, found that almost 74% of the country's middle class said their lives had become "increasingly busy", compared to a national average of 62%. Nearly 60% of middle-class members claimed "too many things in life make me feel very stressed".

The hectic pace of life is fuelling a growth in caffeine consumption. Consumption of instant coffee and energy drinks is 50% higher among the middle class compared to the general population. Consumption of takeaway, ready-to-drink and other non-instant coffee products is double the national average. For more on the potential of the premium coffee market, read Coffee: At Home Innovation.

Alcohol consumption is also on the rise in this group. Middle-class consumers drink wine, beer and spirits in greater quantities than the national average. For the latest alcohol trends, see our coverage from this year's Imbibe event.

Around the world, consumers are struggling to switch off their smartphones. UK consumers now consume an average of 11 hours of media each day – longer than the average night's sleep.

The desire to stay connected is resulting in increasing stress levels for many consumers, said Christine Grant, an occupational psychologist at Coventry University in the UK. She told the BBC: "There is a massive anxiety about relinquishing control. In my research I found a number of people who were burnt out because they were travelling with technology all the time, no matter what time zone they were in."

For more on how busyness is becoming the new status symbol, and to discover how brands can restore a sense of calm, read Battling Busyness.