Consumer vulnerability and marketplace exclusion: a case of rural migrants and financial services in China

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With urbanization and the ongoing migration of people from rural regions to urban areas, marketplaces have become increasingly diverse and complex. Rural migrants face numerous challenges in a complex marketplace, and they are likely to become vulnerable consumers. By using ethnographic methods, this study examines Chinese rural migrants, the so-called "urban villagers." We find that structural barriers, including government policies and rules imposed by institutions, restrict rural migrants' acquisition of financial products in urban marketplaces. As a result, they often turn to their social networks and traditional resources. Their reliance on social ties, however, limits their acculturation and adaptation into the urban environment. We conclude with public policy suggestions that aim to improve rural migrants' opportunities for consumption and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Macromarketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • consumer agency
  • consumer vulnerability
  • consumer well-being
  • macromarketing
  • rural migrants

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