Spring Festival Consumption Is Seeing Upgrades
Among China’s traditional festivals, Spring Festival is the most impressive festival with the richest cultural connotation. Continuous tapping into the cultural connotation has greatly driven the emerging and prosperity of the cultural consumption market during Spring Festival. Compared to the past years, the recent 2018 Spring Festival saw some changes in consumption trends.
As economic development continues, consumption during the holidays is evolving from the lowest basic life necessities to higher level demand, Wang Bingnan, vice minister of the Ministry of Commerce said recently.
2018 Spring Festival market is generally steady and orderly
According to Wang Bingnan, in 36 domestic large and medium-sized cities daily meat supply reached 30,000 tons and vegetable supply reached 160,000 tons. Commodity stock of the key retailers increased 10%-15% year-on-year and stock of various wholesale markets and supermarket necessities increased 30%-40%, which can be sold for 7-10 days. Three ecommerce platforms like Jingdong, Tmall and Suning still offer smooth delivery during Spring Festival.
In February, average wholesale price of edible agricultural products in the 36 domestic large and medium-sized cities in- creased 1% over the previous week, almost the same with the same period of the previous year. Impacted by freezing rain and snow, the average price of 30 kinds of vegetables increased 20%. Wang Bingnan predicts that during the Spring Festival holiday retail and catering companies reached a sales volume above RMB 900 billion with a year-on-year increase of 10%.
“To secure market supply during Spring Festival, we are supposed to bring the market mechanism into full play and to make full use of government’s control measures to make up market malfunctions,” Wang Bingnan stressed. We’ll spare no efforts in securing market supply in the following three aspects: first, to ensure necessities. Grain, oil, meat, egg, milk and vegetable that are necessary for the general public’s daily life should be secured; second, to ensure supply. Commodity supply will be secured to avoid out of stock or sharp rise in prices; third, to secure the key regions. The densely-populated large and medium-sized cities, regions with severe weather as well as Hong Kong and Macao are such key regions.
Spring Festival consumption speeds up for upgrading
Speaking of the consumption features of 2018 Spring Festival, Wang Bingnan regards that the biggest feature is consumption upgrading in terms of consumption content, consumption philosophy and consumption mode. This trend appear in this year’s Spring Festival consumption.
“Consumption choice values more about quality,” said Wang Bingnan. In the past, Spring Festival meant new clothes, new things and big meals, and this consumption philosophy is to simply have adequate food and clothing. As the living standard is improving and consumption concept has witnessed great changes, consumption choices value quality and brand increasingly. This mainly reflects in three aspects: healthy food, like organic food, green vegetables, free-range pork and cage-free eggs and these green and healthy food are continuously delivered to the general public’s dining table; fashionable clothes, like customized garments and imported clothing, shoes and hats are quickly entering into the households; quality furniture, like smart appliances, digital products and environmentfriendly furniture are entering into the households.
In the meantime, consumption content is diversifying. According to Wang Bingnan’s analysis, in the past, Spring Festival consumption focused on commodities, like special purchase for Spring Festival and gifts for relatives, most of which were related with food and clothing. Nowadays, service
consumption occupies an increasingly bigger ratio, such as catering, tourism, education, fitness, entertainment and culture.
“Orders for 2018 New Year’s Eve dinner were plentiful, and table reservation particularly for some traditional brands and special private rooms reached above 90%. Many takeaway platforms offered delivery services for finished products and semi-finished products. Moreover, as China will hold winter Olympics in a couple of years, many people go to ski in the ski resorts nearby. It is learned from the ecommerce platforms that sales of ski products has increased over 30%,” said Wang Bingnan.
Besides, consumption pattern becomes more convenient. Wang Bingnan pointed out that rapid development of e-commerce has brought much convenience to consumption during Spring Festival. In the past, people brought many gifts in big and small bags when going back home to celebrate Spring Festival. Nowadays, many people prefer online shopping for Spring Festival purchase and some commodities arrive home even earlier than people. As cross-border e- commerce develops, overseas quality commodities may quickly arrives at Chinese consumers’ hands.
To satisfy consumers’ demand for consumption upgrading and to enable the general public to enjoy a quality Spring Festival, the business system has adopted several measures. Wang Bingnan introduced that in terms of increasing quality commodities, commercial departments at all levels guide the distribution companies to adapt to the new features of Spring Festival and the new trend of consumption upgrading, increase supply of green, healthy, intelligent and fashionable commodities and to satisfy urban and rural residents’ growing demands for quality, personalized and diverse consumption.
“In the meantime, various e-commerce platforms launch such activities as New Year’s shopping carnival and select quality marketable commodities for Spring Festival based on big data,” said Wang Bingnan. Taobao directly delivers more than 100 green agricultural products to the large and medium- sized cities, Jingdong timely delivers fresh food to the households via entire cold chain, and Suning runs promotion campaign of New Year special purchase jointly with 100 renowned brands.
As for maintaining market order, Wang Bingnan stressed that the commercial departments at all levels join hands with relevant departments to combat infringement and counterfeiting behaviors of the important commodities, such as food, tobacco and wine and in the key areas like online retail, the rural areas and the ruralurban continuum, which purifies the market environment and ensures the general public to enjoy assured, secure and comfortable consumption during Spring Festival.
Leisure tour has become top choice and quality tours gain popularity
In recent years, travel has become an increasingly popular way for people to celebrate Spring Festival. In the 2018 Spring Festival, the tourism market ushered in a new round of travel peak.
According to survey conducted by the Data Center of National Tourism Administration, 83% Chinese people surveyed would like to travel in the first quarter of 2018, of which 48.9% tourists choose to travel during Spring Festival. Based on market reservation data, the Center predicts that the domestic tourism market will receive 385 million tourists, up 12% year-on-year and will realize tourism revenue of RMB 476 billion, up 12.5% year-on-year.
“This year, family travel has become a mainstream,” said Wang Xiaofeng, deputy director of the National Tourism Administration. Going to a winter resort in South China and enjoying snow view in North China are still important motivations for tourists to travel during Spring Festival.
The survey shows that 65.9% tourists choose domestic medium- and long-distance travel, which occupies the biggest proportion. Sanya and Harbin are the top two destinations for domestic travel. Island and snow themes are the most popular for traveling. In addition, the second- and third-tier cities are likely to receive a large number of tourists in the commercial streets, museums, theme parks, amusement parks, zoos and temple fairs.
“Leisure tour has become a top choice and quality travel gains much popularity,” said Wang.
The survey shows that holiday leisure has surpassed scenic sightseeing as the top motivation for travelling during Spring Festival holiday. Tourists choosing holiday leisure accounts for 50.5% and that of scenic sightseeing 48.9%. Such healthy and leisure travels like hot spring tour and health-keeping tour attract the widest attention among tourists. Besides, tourists with motivation of discovery and exploration account for 36%, which signals that more and more tourists are pursuing tourism quality.
Wang Xiaofeng said that Spring Festival holiday is the travel peak for the general public and local tourism departments, based on the features of Spring Festival market, organize all kinds of lively, participatory festival activities full of festival flavor as well as various holiday tourism products such as folk tour, snow tour, hot spring tour and fitness tour to satisfy demands of tourists at different levels.
“Spring Festival consumption is upgrading and the tourism market keeps launching new products, which shows a new business type. All the local governments spare great efforts to promote integrated development of the tourism industry. A batch of new products like cultural tour, sports tour, health-keeping tour, industrial tour and technological tour are put into the Spring Festival market,” Wang took Zhejiang as an example. The beautiful villages, special towns and culture streets, such as Jiashan chocolate special town, Xinchang Dali silk industrial tourism demo base and Hangzhou Meijiawu tea culture street, integrate sightseeing and holiday relaxation together and bring tourists a relaxing tour experience.
In addition, some attractions launch new products and new business types like cruise tour, island selfdriving tour, motor home camping and helicopter low-altitude tour to satisfy tourists’ individualized and diverse tourism demands.