Epidemic dampens Valentine’s Day in China, boosts online sales

By Wang Bozun Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/14 19:28:40


A customer receives the flower. Photo: Yang Hui/GT


As the battle against the novel coronavirus pneumonia in China goes on, the epidemic has dampened Valentine's Day-related businesses, including entertainment venues and flower growers in China.

Couples would normally shop, go to a cinema, buy roses or eat at restaurants to celebrate lovers' day. But this year, as China has been hit by an unexpected coronavirus outbreak, malls and restaurants have reduced their business operations, with KTVs and cinemas even staying closed.

Yang Ying, vice general manager of Windsor KTV, a leading KTV company in China, told the Global Times on Friday that the Spring Festive Holiday is normally the peak period for them, but they have closed their stores since January 24 (the first day of the lunar new year in 2020).

"KTV entertainment is different from restaurants, which could still offer home deliveries during the outbreak. Once we close an outlet, it means that the revenue becomes zero, but the costs including rent, salary and taxes still go on, which has placed huge pressure on us," Yang said.

She said they normally expect 1.5 times more customers on Valentine's Day, but on this year's lovers' day, the company is just thinking about how to survive amid the outbreak.

"Given our business size, we are a leading company in this sector and our cashflow is healthy," Yang said, adding that "despite these advantages, it is hard for us to go on if this situation extends to two or three months."

Besides the entertainment industry, flower growers, especially rose farmers, are also hit by the COVID-19 as they have to dispose of the roses that they had prepared for Valentine's Day before the outbreak.

According to media reports, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, which supplies 70 percent of roses in China, has disposed of about 1 million roses on Monday.

The epidemic has also kept consumers from going out. 

A Beijing white collar worker surnamed Wang in his thirties told the Global Times that he just planed to cook some special food and watch a movie at home with his girlfriend to celebrate instead of going out. 

While the service sector suffers, e-commerce platforms have seen a little boost as consumers would shop online, and many platforms and courier services have offered non-contact deliveries, which is considered safer than visiting a mall.

"I did not buy flowers for my girlfriend; I apologized to her and she understands," Wang said, adding "but I ordered some chocolates and other gifts for her, it is safer." 

According to a document provided by JDDJ, a popular e-commerce platform in China, the online sales of cakes, candies and chocolates have dramatically increased compared to last year, with sales of chocolates increasing over 600 percent.

The most popular products on lovers' day are alcohol beverages, disinfectant and nutritional health products, with sales of disinfectants increasing 9.6 times, the document shows.

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