China's consumer market bustling amid Spring Festival shopping boom
Customers line up to buy Beijing 2022 officially licensed goods outside Wangfujing Gongmei Emporium in Beijing on Feb 7, 2022. [Photo by Zou Hong/chinadaily.com.cn]
BEIJING -- With the Olympic panda mascot Bing Dwen Dwen sold out all over China due to people's enthusiasm for the 2022 Games, China saw a brisk consumer market during the Lunar New Year holiday, the first seven-day long festival of the year that ended Sunday.
While the Winter Games fueled growth in the ice and snow industries, the real economy has leveraged digital technologies to upgrade service ability and meet various consumer demands both online and offline.
Out of pandas
As the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games kicked off on Friday, over one million people flooded the official Tmall store of the Olympics and rushed to buy a Bing Dwen Dwen mascot, the cuddly Panda on ice skates, and other merchandise, according to a report by the e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Industrial data revealed Chinese people's growing appetite for ice and snow sports and entertainment buoyed by the Beijing Games.
During the period from New Year's Eve to Friday, sales of skiing equipment soared by more than 180 percent year-on-year, and ice sports-related products saw a growth of more than 300 percent, the Tmall said.
Since the start of January, the search volume of the terms "curling" and "ice hockey" recorded year-on-year growth of 310 percent and 130 percent, respectively, with more ice and snow sports going viral among young generations, according to Dianping, the Chinese version of Yelp.
The ice and snow trend has swept across the country, injecting impetus to China's tourism market. On Alibaba's travel branch Fliggy, the order volume for snow and ice tourism-related products jumped by more than 30 percent from a year ago, and ski resorts including the Changbai Mountains in Northeast China's Jilin province became hot destinations.
China's ice and snow tourism market is expected to maintain growth momentum due to multiple positive factors, said Liu Yunan, a manager of Kchance, a tourism consultancy in Shanghai.
The upgrading of tourism consumption will help interactive products in the ice and snow industries gain more popularity, Liu said, adding that the Winter Games and the incentive policies released by local governments will combine to take the industry to a higher level.
Bustling shopping centers
Duty-free stores in South China's Hainan Free Trade Port have been filled with consumers queuing up for perfume, cosmetics and electronics during the holiday.
Tourists flooded into shops of international luxury brands including Gucci, YSL Beauty and Bvlgari, which have rolled out measures to limit consumer flow.
The enthusiasm of consumers in eastern China's Shanghai is booming, as the city's offline consumption reached 37.1 billion yuan ($5.84 billion) during the seven-day holiday, up 28.6 percent from the previous year, data from the Consumer Market Big Data Laboratory (Shanghai) showed.
Shanghai received nearly 11 million visitors and raked in over 17.7 billion yuan during the period, local authorities said on Sunday.
Despite sporadic COVID-19 cases in a few places, the country's precise virus containment policies have reduced the impact of the epidemic on people's lives to the minimum.
From Jan 17, the first day of the Spring Festival travel rush, to Saturday, China saw a total of over 100 million road passenger trips, official data showed.
"Consumption in lower-level cities and some central and western provinces will gain impetus from the large number of residents that returned to their hometowns," said a report by the China International Capital Corporation.
During the holiday, third-tier cities saw a better performance in box office revenue than that of first-tier cities, the report said. As of Sunday, the total box office of new films during the 2022 Spring Festival topped 6 billion yuan.
"Domestic consumption is expected to maintain growth momentum and continue to recover in 2022," said Guo Liyan, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research, pointing out that the global pandemic will be gradually brought under control and incentive policies are in place.
China's top economic planner said recently that the country will promote the integration of consumption of goods and services, improve the service quality of rural tourism, and move faster to integrate county and rural e-commerce systems and express delivery systems.
The country's employment has remained stable, and the income increase has kept in step with the economic growth, providing a solid guarantee for consumption to make progress while maintaining stability, Guo added.