Shoppers browse selections at a fresh food store in Tianjin on Jan 12. (Photo by TONG YU/CHINA NEWS SERVICE)
With the approaching Spring Festival, a large number of Chinese cities are distributing consumption vouchers to stimulate spending. The trend is expected to help expand domestic demand and strengthen market vitality, experts observed.
Following the government's optimization of COVID-19 response measures, the domestic consumer market began to regain vigor during the holiday season.
Tianjin started its second round issuance of consumption vouchers on Jan 11, and the vouchers can be redeemed until the end of February. The local government will invest 115 million yuan ($17 million) in boosting consumption by issuing four types of vouchers that can be redeemed when purchasing cars, home appliances, daily consumer goods, and catering and travel products.
Based on calculations by the Tianjin commerce bureau, coupled with various discounts launched by retailers and online platforms, the amount of consumption coupons released by the local government this round is expected to boost spending by more than 3.3 billion yuan.
"As Spring Festival, a peak consumption season, draws near, issuing consumption vouchers serves as an effective way to help stimulate spending in the short term," said Zheng Lanxiang, a professor at Anhui University.
To revitalize small- and micro-sized businesses and highlight the theme of benefiting residents, many cities have also issued general consumption vouchers in small amounts through different online platforms such as payment platform Alipay, short-video platform Douyin and on-demand retail platform Meituan.
After obtaining such general consumption coupons online, consumers can enjoy preferential treatment when shopping at numerous application scenarios, such as supermarkets, convenience stores and food markets, said Yu Pengzhou, deputy secretary-general of Tianjin's local government.
With Spring Festival around the corner, the ways of using the consumption coupons issued in this round boast distinctive festival features. At the time of issuing consumption vouchers, many cities have also introduced traditional Spring Festival promotional activities to comprehensively activate spending potential.
For instance, Tianjin has organized New Year's marketplaces, focusing on the sales of time-honored local brands, local specialties and supplies for Spring Festival, as it aims to fully tap the sales potential of local products and brands.
In Maanshan, Anhui province, customers can get a discount of up to 10,000 yuan per person when they purchase cars with consumption vouchers, according to Lu Xiaojian, general manager of an experience store of Hongqi, the premium arm of China's FAW Group, in Maanshan, Xinhua News Agency reported.
To help promote the recovery of the cultural tourism market during the holiday, many places have issued consumption vouchers that can be redeemed for booking hotels, scenic spots and other cultural tourism products.
On Jan 11, Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian province, issued 35,000 travel consumption vouchers to residents and tourists, and the total value of the vouchers reached 7 million yuan.
Those who have obtained the coupons can book hotels and guesthouses on a specified platform before Feb 11, and each voucher is worth 200 yuan in discounts, according to the cultural and tourism bureau of Xiamen.
Next, Xiamen will also introduce a number of awards and subsidies for qualified travel agencies and commercial operators to promote the recovery of the cultural tourism sector.
Between mid-December and Spring Festival, the Nanshan district of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, will issue 200 million yuan worth of consumption vouchers to encourage the purchase of consumer goods such as cars, home appliances, digital devices, clothing, jewelry, watches and food, the local government said.
Previous data from the commercial departments of local governments showed that the issuance of consumption vouchers has an obvious effect on stimulating consumption.
From June to December last year, Hubei province invested 1.26 billion yuan in financial funds to issue consumption vouchers that helped boost consumption value by 5.05 billion yuan.