Shopping festival to pry open wallets
Shoppers at the 2022 Zhejiang Golden Autumn Shopping Festival on Hubin Pedestrian Street, Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Authorities in East China's Zhejiang province recently launched a three-month shopping campaign to stimulate consumption and promote high-quality economic development.
Jointly hosted by the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce and four other provincial departments, the 2022 Zhejiang Golden Autumn Shopping Festival kicked off last Friday along Hangzhou's Hubin Pedestrian Street, one of China's most iconic commercial thoroughfares.
Running from Sept 16 to early November, it overlaps with China's Singles Day shopping extravaganza, with the new Hangzhou festival featuring eight major "theme weeks", including food, fashion, culture and sports, among others, said Han Jie, director of the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce.
About 500 events of various types, many of which will be livestreamed－including bazaars and expos－will be held over the period, and discounts, vouchers and subsidies worth some 2.3 billion yuan ($327.96 million) will be on offer, Han said.
For this year's Golden Autumn Shopping Festival, major industry associations, trading companies, time-honored brands as well as banks have been invited to actively participate. "Through government agencies, businesses and banks, vouchers and coupons will be issued and distributed, which will help create a more conducive environment for consumers to enjoy their shopping," said Hu Shengyue, an official with the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce.
With more people attracted to brick-and-mortar stores, it is hoped that ultimately their consumption can provide a further boost to the real economy, as the promotional events in the next three months are expected to cover tens of millions of shops, sellers and customers.
In the past few years, more efforts have been extended in this regard to revitalize consumption, especially amid the difficulties caused by COVID-19. Since the start of 2022, Zhejiang has issued more than 150 policy documents, held more than 600 events and distributed consumption vouchers and coupons worth over 5 billion yuan, all in a bid to create more demand. Statistics show that these initiatives have encouraged consumers in the province to open their billfolds to the tune of over 63 billion yuan. In addition, actions have been continuously taken to develop high-quality shopping streets and night markets.
With a population of 65.4 million and annual per capita disposable income standing at 57,541 yuan in 2021, Zhejiang province has a vast internal market and huge consumption potential to tap. It was among the first provinces in China to organize shopping festivals such as the current one, in line with the nation's attempt to steer away from an investment-driven economic growth model a decade ago.
Local authorities in Zhejiang have also followed suit to host their own consumption campaigns. In Hangzhou, subsidies have been offered to buyers of new energy vehicles; in Ningbo, a long-term campaign to promote its nighttime economy has been launched; and in Jinhua, a similar shopping festival has been launched, with over 3,000 businesses participating and a billion yuan of vouchers and coupons up for grabs.
In August, total retail sales of consumer goods in Zhejiang reached 250.5 billion yuan, up 8.9 percent year-on-year, and 3.5 percentage points higher than the national growth rate.