October 9, 2023
BEIJING – Growth: Immense vitality, potential of consumer market seen, expert says
Chinese consumers unleashed their massive buying power during the eight-day combined Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday period, pushing up sales of high-quality intelligent home appliances and outdoor equipment.
Experts said this indicates the enormous vitality and resilience of the world’s second-largest economy.
Highlighting that shoring up consumption is key to expanding domestic demand and bolstering economic growth, they called for more supportive measures to stabilize and expand employment, improve household incomes and further boost spending on automobiles, electronics and other big-ticket items.
Data from online discounter Pinduoduo showed that the turnover of intelligent kitchen appliances such as dishwashers surged 159 percent between Sept 29 and Friday, compared with the same period last year. Sales of household appliances such as clothes dryers and vacuum cleaners jumped 213 percent year-on-year.
Sales of mobile phones including those manufactured by Huawei, Xiaomi and Apple skyrocketed more than 50 percent year-on-year during the holiday season on Taobao, Chinese tech heavyweight Alibaba Group’s online marketplace.
In addition, travel gadgets and outdoor sports goods found increasing favor among Chinese consumers, with sales soaring 590 percent year-on-year during the eight-day break, according to online retailer Vipshop.
The turnover of running apparel jumped 153 percent year-on-year, surfing and diving equipment rose 87 percent and sunglasses increased 45 percent, Vipshop added.
The Ministry of Commerce said that in the first seven days of the holidays, sales of gold, silver and other jewelry, as well as communication equipment increased more than 10 percent year-on-year at retail enterprises monitored by the ministry, while sales of automobiles and cosmetics rose about 7 percent year-on-year.
The consumption boom during the eight-day holiday demonstrated the immense vitality and potential of China’s consumer market, giving a strong boost to the country’s economic recovery, said Zhang Deyong, a researcher from the National Academy of Economic Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
“Consumption has become the primary engine for boosting economic growth,” Zhang said, adding that the extended golden week holiday has typically been a peak season for consumption when Chinese shoppers loosened their purse strings to buy high-quality, personalized and diversified commodities at a brisk pace.
China’s consumption market has witnessed rapid recovery during the eight-day break, which is the longest holiday in the year for consumers, said Wang Yun, a researcher at the Academy of Macroeconomic Research, which is affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic regulator.
“Chinese shoppers are carefully reviewing their needs, with the key focus being on the quality and value of the products they buy, as well as the feelings associated with making a purchase,” Wang said. Consumption, as a significant pillar of economic development, is expected to maintain recovery momentum, with the growth rate reaching over 7 percent this year, she added.
Consumption has emerged as a bright spot in the country’s economic performance. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that retail sales, a major indicator of consumption strength, increased 7 percent year-on-year during the January-August period.
The tourism sector has also seen remarkable growth during the extended vacation period. According to Alibaba’s travel platform Fliggy, orders for domestic and overseas trips over the holiday surged nearly 600 percent and more than twentyfold year-on-year, respectively.
Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at Zhejiang University’s International Business School, said the robust recovery in consumer spending during the holiday is of great importance in bolstering market expectations as well as the confidence of investors and consumers.
Pan expected China’s consumer market to pick up at a faster clip in the fourth quarter, fueled by the Singles Day online shopping festival in November, while calling for more stimulus policies to increase employment, spur the purchase of new energy vehicles in rural areas and promote service-related consumption.
More efforts are needed to speed up the construction of charging infrastructure, especially in rural areas, and guide charging pile operators to lower their service fees in order to stimulate the consumption of NEVs, Pan added.