Consumption gets boost from Chinese Valentine’s Day

By Xie Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/16 22:23:40

Experts say US can’t give up nation’s market potential


Employees dressed in cartoon costumes perform at an event to kick off Chinese Valentine's Day online shopping spree on July 30 in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province. Photo: IC

Domestic consumption is approaching a mini-climax with the Chinese Valentine's Day on Friday, which shows that consumption power is still strong despite the shadows of the ongoing Sino-US trade dispute.

Many Chinese consumers are rushing to spend more on this holiday, which in the past was not a big shopping day. The holiday, known in China as Qixi, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar months.

A Shanghai resident told the Global Times on condition of anonymity on Thursday that she has spent about 50,000 yuan for the holiday, including a trip to the US with her friends and family, as well as a gym membership for herself, for the Chinese Valentine's Day.

"A festival like this is actually an excuse to spend money on myself and release my consumption desire," she said.

A Beijing-based consumer surnamed Zhang told the Global Times on Wednesday that she had spent about 200 yuan ($29) on two cod filets for a festive dinner with her husband on the eve of the holiday.

"Normally I wouldn't buy such expensive food. But for the special occasion, I think it's worth it," she said.

Data provided by online shopping mall Tmall.com showed on Thursday that just this week 120,000 handbags were sold on Tmall.com, up by 60 percent compared with the previous week. Many jewelry brands also saw their sales rocket as the holiday neared, in some cases by as much as five times from normal days.

Such "festival shopping" shows Chinese consumers' growing spending power. Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Tuesday that retail sales amounted to about 3.07 trillion yuan in July, up by 8.8 percent on a yearly basis, compared with a 9 percent increase in June.

"Generally speaking, Chinese shoppers' spending power has been rising steadily in recent years, although in recent years the growth speed might have slowed a bit," Cong Yi, an economics professor at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Thursday.

But he also said the domestic consumer market still has lots of potential. "Chinese consumers' need for high-quality products still can't be satisfied on many occasions. That's why they go overseas to shop," Cong said.

He also noted that for overseas companies, Chinese customers' buying power holds strong appeal,

China and the US are engaged in a trade dispute with both countries increasing import tariffs on each other's products. The tit-for-tat dispute has exerted pressure on many US companies doing business in China and the reverse as well.

Betty Qi, a Shanghai-based resident, said that she used to buy products from Kiehl's (a US personal care brand) but would turn to other options if the company raises prices because of the tariff increases.

"It's impossible for US brands to give up the Chinese market. It would be fatal to their business," Cong said, citing such examples as some US car producers, whose sales in China are much higher than their US sales.



 



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