New era of consumption

Updated 2018-02-08 10:15:01

Chinese people change up selection of gifts ahead of lunar new year

People are busy shopping for the Chinese lunar new year, which falls on February 16 this year. But their choices for New Year's gifts are different from previous years thanks to the improvement in living standards and upgrading of consumption structures. China's consumer market boasts a strong growth impetus driven by spending on education, culture, travel, innovation and luxury products, which are enjoying increasing popularity. Experts said that stable consumption growth will continue to drive the country's sustainable economic development in the future.

Chinese consumers are driving a shift in New Year's gift trends, mirroring the great growth of the country's consumption market.

"I bought some cosmetic products as festival gifts for ladies in my family this year, and for men, I will give them electronic devices such as e-bracelets," said Wang Ao, a 20-something white-collar worker living in Beijing.

"In previous years, my family always gave each other snacks like chocolate, nuts and fruits as festival gifts, but those products are now quite normal in daily life," Wang told the Global Times on Tuesday.

He said that products like cosmetics and e-bracelets are quite useful because nowadays, people are more likely to focus on a healthy lifestyle.

"I recently bought a waist watch for my husband and I plan to buy a bag for myself. One of my colleagues also wants to buy beeswax and gold," said Zhang Can, a 32-year-old resident of Shijiazhuang, North China's Hebei Province, on Tuesday.

However, Zhang said that many people around her who wish to buy luxury goods do not wait until specific holidays.

"With the lift in living standards, we can purchase expensive things whenever we want to," she said.

Besides gifts, another obvious change for the Chinese lunar new year is the food, Zhang said.

"Our family is a big one, so we used to buy more than 50 kilograms of pork, beef and mutton. But for this year, we bought more varieties of food. For example, we bought more seafood," she said.

According to a report released by the Suning Financial Research Center on Monday, unlike 10 or 20 years ago, consumers no longer look forward to new clothes; instead, cosmetics, smartphones and home appliances have become people's favorites during the traditional festival.

During the first quarters of 2015, 2016 and 2017, the sales shares of communication devices, home appliances and cosmetics in China increased by about 0.8, 0.4 and 0.2 percent, respectively, said the report.

By comparison, shares of jewelry and clothes both dropped by about 0.4 percent during those same periods.

As the traditional festival usually falls in the first quarter, the above change in retail shows gradual consumption upgrading, as people increasingly seek a higher quality life, experts noted.

The report also shows that high-end liquor is also in great demand.

Kweichow Moutai, a famous Chinese liquor brand based in Southwest China's Guizhou Province, raised the retail price of its 500ml bottle of Feitian Moutai, its flagship product which contains as much as 53 percent alcohol by volume, to 1,499 yuan (8.19) at the beginning of 2018 from 1,299 yuan in 2017.

Popular imports

With the increasing popularity of cross-border e-commerce, Chinese consumers' enthusiasm has been further energized.

Large e-commerce platforms such as Tmall International - the online shopping mall under Alibaba Group Holding - JD.com Inc and Amazon.com Inc have all launched promotional activities for imported goods.

For example, JD launched a special page for the selling of imported goods. After selecting a Danish cookie on the site, the Global Times found that the number of purchaser comments for that one product had reached 150,000.

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