China's retail sales rose 10 percent year on year in the first quarter of the year, 0.4 percentage points less than the whole of last year, official data showed Monday.
Retail sales of consumer goods totaled 8.5823 trillion yuan (1.25 trillion U.S. dollars) during the January-March period, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
In March, total sales of consumer goods rose 10.9 percent year on year, 1.4 percentage points faster than the first two months, which rose 9.5 percent year on year, the first time for growth to fall below 10 percent in 11 years.
The data showed strong consumption potential in rural areas, with retail sales expanding 11.9 percent during the period, outpacing urban areas, where retail sales climbed 9.7 percent year on year.
Online sales continued strong growth, surging 32.1 percent in the first two months to 1,404.5 billion yuan.
China is trying to shift its economy toward a growth model driven by consumer spending, innovation and services, while weaning it off reliance on exports and investment.
As a main driver of economic growth, consumption contributed to 64.6 percent of China's GDP growth last year. The country has vowed to promote a steady increase in consumer spending this year.