New Year crowds seen back on streets

2023-01-04 10:39:50China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Consumers are seen at a shopping center in Kunming, Yunnan province, on Sunday. (Photo/Xinhua)

Hotels, shopping malls, restaurants nationwide witness big return of consumers

Restaurants, hotels and shopping malls across the country have seen the long-lost hustle and bustle of crowds return during the New Year's holiday following China's optimization of COVID-19 control measures.

The daily life services sector saw a robust recovery during the three days from Saturday to Monday, and the sector's daily online consumption value jumped 75 percent over the 2019 New Year's holiday when there was no pandemic, according to a report by on-demand retail platform Meituan.

Particularly, the amount of spending recorded in Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, as well as Beijing and Shanghai, ranked tops nationwide. Non-local spending also jumped significantly, which drove holiday consumption together with local spending, the report said.

"Chinese consumers are showing their spending enthusiasm during the period around Spring Festival and there is a pent-up demand due to the pandemic that needs to be released. Retail, catering, accommodation and sightseeing spots nationwide are expected to embrace another round of spending sprees," said Song Xiangqing, vice-dean of the School of Government at Beijing Normal University.

In the first two days of the New Year holiday, many restaurants, especially large-scale renowned ones, have seen long queues and the total amount that people paid through online methods at restaurants doubled over the previous week. The transaction amount in Jiangsu and Zhejiang surged significantly, Meituan found.

Liu Zihao is a florist shop owner in Beijing. He said since Saturday afternoon, the ordering volume of flowers began to increase gradually. As of Monday morning, he had sent out dozens of bouquets through express deliveries, CMG reported.

Local entertainment such as karaoke and hot springs were also favored by young consumers during the holiday. The order volumes of making handicrafts at DIY workshops surged 242 percent over the period before the holiday, and the order volume of photo-shoots with New Year themes also jumped remarkably, according to Meituan.

Meanwhile, bookings at high-end hotels or bed-and-breakfasts with distinctive features have become increasingly popular. On Saturday, the occupancy rate of high-end hotels available on Meituan hit a record high in 2022, and more than 80 percent of bookers were young consumers aged below 30, the report said.

Many hotels in hot tourist destinations such as Sanya in Hainan province, Xishuangbanna in Yunnan province and Zhangjiakou in Hebei province, saw their rooms fully booked during the holiday. Prices of hotel rooms, especially those located in warm destinations, climbed significantly during the period, as demand surged in a short time, according to Suzhou-based online travel agency Tongcheng Travel.

"Chinese consumers have shown a gradual recovery in their confidence to take trips and this has contributed to the fast warming-up of the domestic tourism market over the New Year holiday. Particularly, long-haul travel demand picked up," said Cheng Chaogong, a senior researcher with Tongcheng Travel.

"The business performances and the recovery of the tourism markets in some destinations have been better than expected, and it has laid a solid foundation for the further bounce-back of the tourism market for the whole year," Cheng said.


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