Lucky Year of the Ox fueling 'revenge' brick-and-mortar consumption
Published: Feb 13, 2021 06:35 PM

Photo: VCG

"Revenge consumption" is fueling a boom in flower sales in Wuhan in Central China's Hubei Province during this year's Spring Festival holidays, as locals, unable to visit physical markets amid a lockdown over last year's Lunar New Year, are going on a flower buying spree to garner good luck believed to come with the Year of the Ox.

As Wuhan residents flock to a major flower market in Jianghan, the city's most densely populated district, street fronts in and around the market were filled with people on Friday, the first day of the Year of the Ox, with large crowds causing traffic jams, Hubei economics channel reported.

A flower store owner, who didn't sleep for 50 hours, couldn't remember how many flowers having been sold.

In another sign of the sales boom, another vendor who had run a flower business for 30 years, said the market's sales volume has been unparalleled. Whatever flowers put on the shelves were being sold in a matter of minutes, per the report.

The unprecedented flower shopping bonanza, as local vendors put it, is partially attributed to the Year of the Ox - traditionally considered to signal good luck and fortune - prompting locals to jump onto the bullish flower-buying bandwagon.

More importantly, local households who experienced lockdown during the previous Spring Festival holidays are understandably going on an offline consumption binge.

The brick-and-mortar consumption fever not only pertains to Wuhan, but is sweeping across the country that has over the past year done a splendid job in containing the disease. 

A supermarket in Beijing. Photo: VCG

With  "staying put" policies being strictly implemented in Beijing, many people from other parts of the country have been enjoying the Spring Festival holidays in the city where they study and work. As a consequence, supermarkets and department stores are packed with crowds, a rarity for what would have been a deserted city during the annual gathering, a local resident giving her surname as Wang told the Global Times on Saturday. 

Wang made frequent visits to multiple stores over recent days, including a large supermarket close to her apartment and a nearby shopping mall. It's often the case that there was a long line of consumers waiting to check out, she said.

"While a variety of online retailers make it readily available for almost all sorts of items to reach out to consumers, it's still the offline shopping experience that best captures the festival mood."

The shopping district in Guiyang, Southwest China's Guizhou Province is bustling with unprecedented crowds of locals this year, although many local shopping malls have opted to slightly trim their operating hours, according to Guizhou Metropolis Daily.

A young man surnamed Chen from East China's Anhui Province went shopping at Guiyang Modern Capital Square on Friday, selecting a gift for his girlfriend at a beauty counter.

After graduating from college, Chen has chosen to work in Guiyang. Nonetheless, he would go back to his hometown over the annual holidays. In response to the "remaining in place" message, Chen and his girlfriend chose to remain in Guiyang this year.

Albeit not being able to unite with their family members, the two young adults said they felt unrestrained enjoying the holidays in Guiyang. Chen described their holiday lives as substantial with shopping, dining and watching movies after sleeping in.

As well as online shopping that's being increasingly relied on for special purchases due to the Spring Festival holidays, especially this year with those from other parts of the country exchanging shipments of special purchases with relatives from their hometown, psychical experience including park touring, visiting museums, reading books and going to cinemas are among the choices for people to celebrate the stay-in-local festival, Chinese news site reported Thursday, citing Zhu Xiaoliang, head of the consumer promotion department of the Ministry of Commerce. 

This consumer market with Lunar New Year stock and booming sales and a vibrant festival mood over the Spring Festival holidays makes a good start and lays a solid groundwork for the stable and sound development of consumption for the whole year of 2021, Zhu stated.

China's retail sales of consumer goods, a main gauge of consumption growth, contracted 3.9 percent in 2020 from the year before, official data showed. The reading is widely expected to return to positive territory this year with a much stronger economic rebound stimulating wide-ranging consumption.

Global Times