Yiwu’s Christmas orders slump 50% amid pandemic: insider

By Huang Lanlan Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/30 19:53:40

Yiwu’s Christmas orders slump 50% amid pandemic

Christmas hats for sale in Yiwu, East China's Zhejiang Province in December. Photo: VCG

Yiwu in East China's Zhejiang Province, the world's largest Christmas product export market that produces 60 percent of global Christmas decorations, has been slammed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, with export orders plummeting by 50 percent, industry insiders said.

Many exporters in Yiwu didn't get Christmas-related orders until May or even June, two months later than their usual busy "Christmas season" from March to April, said Cai Qinliang, secretary general of the Yiwu Christmas Decorations Association.

"This season has seen export orders slump by around 50 percent on a yearly basis," Cai said.

The market's delayed and shrunken Christmas order book is a direct result of the pandemic, which has made overseas buyers wary, especially those in the worst-hit countries such as the US and Brazil, Cai told the Global Times Tuesday. 

Wang Liqin, a Yiwu-based exporter of Christmas items like Santa Claus figures, who used to get some 5 million yuan ($707,000) of orders each year, said she has only received orders worth less than 1 million yuan so far this year.

Wang's major clients are in Brazil and Mexico. In most years, their orders flooded in starting in early March. But this year, the orders didn't come until the end of April, and they were much smaller. "One client decreased the amount from 100,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan," Wang told the Global Times.

Wang had to lay off employees to cut costs, and her factory - which used to have more than 30 workers - now has only five.

Curtain maker Zhejiang Yongli Warp Knitting (Yongli), whose two largest clients are from Brazil and the US - the two countries with the most COVID-19 cases at present - said orders from the two have been halved this year.

By contrast, its European purchasers, which accounted for 10-20 percent of orders in the past, contributed nearly half of its orders this year, said sales manager Hu Ligang. 

Still, total orders are down 30 percent, and Yongli is considering moving online and using livestreaming platforms to offset these problems, Hu told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Another exporter Zhang Jinhuan, who has experienced a 60-percent decline in orders year-on-year, is also looking for a way out. Instead of selling Christmas tree ornaments, Zhang told the Global Times that she'll shift to making artificial flowers, which enjoys longer sales period than Christmas-related items.

More exporters reached by the Global Times said they will stay in the industry, because they believe that orders will rebound next year as the pandemic eases.

Christmas products including stockings and tree ornaments are must-haves for many, Cai said. "I'm still optimistic about the future," he added.

Newspaper headline: Yiwu’s Christmas orders slump 50% amid pandemic


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