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China's consumer market sees a surge during festive seasons

By Ma Qing Source:chinadaily.com.cn 2024-01-05

Tourists wait in line for rides on an ice slide at the Harbin Ice-Snow World in Harbin, Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, Jan 1, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's consumer market has witnessed a surge in activity, driven by enthusiasm for cultural, ice sports, and tourism during the festive seasons, Shanghai Securities News reported on Friday.

A series of consumer promotion activities have been launched by local governments to unleash the potential of new types of consumption and leverage consumption's fundamental role in economic development.

The New Year and Spring Festival period are traditional peaks for consumer spending in China.

During the just-concluded three-day New Year holiday, many consumers expanded their travel distances, including enjoying snow in the country's northeastern regions, visiting Hainan for seaside retreats, and travelling outbound.

The surge in consumer activity has unleashed diverse spending patterns, with a growing preference for ice and snow tourism, making cities such as Harbin and Mohe in Heilongjiang province popular.

Chinese people's spending enthusiasm drove robust tourism at the start of this year.

Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, welcomed nearly 3.05 million visitors, raking in 5.91 billion yuan ($832.39 million) of tourism revenue, during the three-day New Year holiday, marking a record high for tourism in Harbin during the New Year period.

Hubei province generated 8.32 billion yuan from tourism during the holiday, up by 36.95 percent from the previous year, and Jiangsu province recorded 17.18 billion yuan, a 126.9 percent year-on-year increase.

The strong spending on tourism mirrored steady domestic demand recovery. It also showed that the macro policies were working well, and the tourism market's offerings improved in both quantity and quality, said Zhou Maohua, an analyst at China Everbright Bank.

Local governments across China have introduced various activities to stimulate spending during the festive season, such as organizing themed events, distributing consumer vouchers, and launching tourism products.

Over 17 million yuan of cultural and tourism vouchers were issued on the New Year Day in Jiangxi province.

Heilongjiang province is expected to issue 42.7 million yuan of consumer vouchers during the Spring Festival via online red packets, offline discount coupons and others.

Conducting events has proven effective in driving consumption. Tianjin introduced 200 cultural and tourism activities during the 2023 winter season, including light shows, concerts, food carnivals and markets.

Tianjin saw a 156 percent surge in tourism bookings during the just-concluded New Year holiday compared to the previous year, according to Ctrip data.

The Ministry of Commerce plans to keep using both policies and events to encourage spending, particularly focusing on key products with festivities, said Xu Xingfeng, director of the consumption promotion bureau at the ministry.

It will continue to create a favorable consumer atmosphere by organizing activities to promote consumption and creating more business, tourism, culture and sports integration of consumption with new scenes, Xu added.

As residents' spending is steadily rebounding, new forms of consumption such as online shopping, smart devices and customized products are growing rapidly.

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