China’s Lunar New Year holiday is traditionally a lucrative time for retail and hospitality sectors. This year, travel restrictions and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics weakened spending during this period however they boosted online orders.
According to China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, shoppers kicked off the Year of the Tiger with a roar, inspired by the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, tiger-inspired products, energy-saving home appliances and readily available meals. Here we have rounded up the key shopping trends from the festivities:
Olympics Games Fans
The first week of February heralded more than the Year of the Tiger; it also kicked off the Winter Olympics Beijing 2022. More than one million netizens visited the official Olympic store on business-to-consumer e-commerce platform Tmall, resulting in several product categories selling out within a day. The Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022’s mascot, Bing Dwen Dwen, was gone in seconds.
Beyond Games merchandise, the Olympics are giving winter sports sales a significant boost. Between 31st January and 4th February, demand for ski equipment increased by more than 180 percent on Tmall compared with this time last year. Purchases of ice sports gear rose 300 percent over the same period.
Sales of down jackets, coats and sweatshirts jumped on the Tmall flagship store of Hong Kong-listed ANTA Sports. Top sellers were Olympics-themed down jackets emblazoned with the Chinese flag, and the sweatshirt sported by Chinese-American teen skier Eileen Feng Gu.
Winter Sports and Leisure
On Fliggy, ice and snow tourism orders increased by more than 30 percent during the Spring Festival compared with last year. Meanwhile, vacation packages combining snow experiences with hot spring visits reached new levels of popularity, rising more than 40 percent year on year.
China’s Generation Z is driving this wave of interest in snow-related holidays. Snow tourism bookings increased by more than 80 percent year-on-year among consumers born after 2000, far exceeding other age groups.
Appetite for Ready Meals
Sales of pre-made meals rose 345 percent on Alibaba’s high-tech supermarket Freshippo and 100 percent on Taobao compared with last year.
Sliced duck, crispy pork and peppered chicken soup were high up on the menu. Sliced, diced and marinated vegetables sizzled on Hema, with sales climbing 345 percent year-on-year.
Southern Chinese have long been fans of a quick meal, but consumption of ready meals is catching on in northern cities as well, Tmall research showed, filling the plates of dumpling-obsessed residents in Beijing, Hubei and other northern cities.
Products depicting tigers, such as sweaters, bags and hats, are hot items, while younger consumers snapped up tiger pendants.
The year-on-year search volume for the term “tiger” on Tmall and Taobao, leapt by 874 percent over the Spring Festival, according to the Tmall research. Preliminary data also suggests that sales among brand names containing the word “tiger” also received a 70 percent boost, such as cross-over SUV Chery Tiggo, made by Chinese manufacturer Chery Automobile.
A Global Affair
The Lunar New Year captured the imaginations of consumers around the world. On the eve of the Spring Festival, searches for “Chinese New Year” and “Year of the Tiger” were recorded by cross-border e-commerce platform AliExpress in more than 200 countries and regions. Products featuring the big cat soared in popularity globally, ranging from mobile phone ornaments to sweaters and hats.
Made in China
The “Made in China” label is becoming a marker of quality, as data from AliExpress shows. International orders for Chinese smartphones rose 25 percent year-on-year during the holidays, dominated by brands including Xiaomi, realme and Oneplus.
Smart home appliances also proved popular, with sales doubling year-on-year.