Retailers strike gold during 8-day festival shopping spree

By FAN FEIFEI| China Daily| Updated:  February 21, 2024 L M S

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Consumers check out festive products in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on Friday.  LIU JIANHUA/FOR CHINA DAILY

Sales of festive lanterns, paintings, embroideries hit seasonal peak

Chinese consumers unleashed their massive purchasing power during the eight-day Spring Festival holiday, which ran from Feb 10 to Saturday, with homegrown brands that weave traditional Chinese cultural elements into their designs, health-related commodities, jewelry and electronic devices gaining in popularity, especially among younger shoppers, experts said.

They said the consumption boom during the Chinese New Year holiday indicates the enormous vitality and strong resilience of the world's second-largest economy, and will provide a strong boost to the country's economic recovery and further shore up market confidence.

Data from Chinese e-commerce platform JD showed that between Feb 7 and Thursday, sales revenue of festive lanterns, Lunar New Year paintings and embroideries deemed to be intangible cultural heritage products surged 9.6-fold, 175 percent and 166 percent, respectively, compared with last year's Spring Festival.

Turnover of down jackets with dragon elements in the Year of the Dragon quadrupled on JD's online marketplaces, while dragon-themed hanfu — traditional Chinese-style clothing — worn by children skyrocketed 3.6-fold.

Health-related and nutritional goods to boost the immune system are increasingly favored by Chinese shoppers, with the transaction volume of protein powders and wolfberry juice gift boxes soaring 96 percent and 200 percent year-on-year, respectively, JD said.

According to Taobao and Tmall, online marketplaces of Chinese tech heavyweight Alibaba Group, sales of gold products jumped more than 300 percent over the past two weeks from a year earlier. Over 40,000 gold bracelets and lucky beads were sold out at jewelry retailer Chow Tai Seng's Tmall online flagship store.

China's consumption market has picked up steam during the Spring Festival holiday, said the Ministry of Commerce on Sunday. Sales figures from key retail and catering enterprises nationwide monitored by the ministry rose 8.5 percent year-on-year over the extended holiday.

Sales of green organic foods, gold, silver and jewelry increased about 20 percent year-on-year, while revenue of on-demand large supermarket chains grew nearly 10 percent compared with the same period last year, the ministry said.

In addition, consumer electronics — including digital cameras and handsets — as well as intelligent home appliance products like dishwashers and coffeemakers, have seen booming sales at both online and offline retailers.

Analysts said that this year's sizzling Spring Festival consumption bodes well for the year as a whole, and the release of pent-up demand will inject strong impetus into the country's economic rebound.

Chen Lifen, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, said Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival for the Chinese people and has typically been a peak season for consumption, adding that catering, tourism, culture and entertainment, and service-related consumption segments have rapidly rebounded during the holiday and showed great vitality.

Chen said the robust growth of consumer spending during the Lunar New Year holiday also showcased the huge potential and resilience of the country's consumer market, which will further boost market confidence and expectations, as well as promote consumption recovery.

Data from Chinese video-sharing platform Douyin showed the daily consumption scale of services consumption — including catering, accommodation, tourism and entertainment — surged 153 percent year-on-year from Feb 9 to Thursday, with consumers from third-tier cities and smaller areas seeing their spending soar 187 percent year-on-year.

Food orders increased by 99 percent over the previous year, while orders for tourism and accommodation, as well as leisure and entertainment activities, increased by 130 percent and 119 percent, respectively, year-on-year during the holiday, Douyin said.

Noting that consumption has become a major driving force in bolstering the country's economic growth, Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at Zhejiang University's International Business School, said the consumption spree during the holiday revealed a further recovery in consumer confidence.

"The authorities have taken a series of policy measures to stimulate consumption, such as issuing shopping vouchers and cutting taxes and fees, which have played a positive role in propelling the recovery of consumption," he said.

The rapid development of e-commerce and other new types of consumption models will further expand sales channels for traditional retailers, Pan said, adding that more efforts are needed to encourage enterprises to use cutting-edge technologies in order to create new types of intelligent consumer goods.