China's annual shopping extravaganza

Updated: 2016-01-22 23:51

By WANG YING in Shanghai(China Daily USA)

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Major e-commerce platforms in China say they are ready for the massive influx of orders ahead of the Chinese New Year

China's annual shopping extravaganza

E-commerce has become such an integral part of life for Chinese consumers. Some 439 million yuan of goods were imported through cross-border e-commerce platforms in Shanghai last year. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Wu Shanshan has started shopping for Chinese New Year products earlier than usual this year as she is hoping to diversify her purchases with the inclusion of some imported goods. For the 33-year-old housewife in Shanghai, this important holiday marks not just a time when her family members get together to partake in the festivities, but also a chance to embark on a major shopping spree.

She said that she would usually head to the supermarket a week before the arrival of the festival to shop for food and Chinese New Year paraphernalia, but the convenience that e-commerce platforms afford has led her to order imported goods such as beef and seafood for this year's celebrations.

Similarly, Xu Yan, a young mother and white collar worker in Shanghai, will be ordering foodstuff from overseas sources to usher in the Year of the Monkey, which kicks off on February 8.

"As a matter of fact, ever since the birth of our son three years ago, we have been constantly ordering imported food and baby items online due to quality concerns. Now, half of the food we buy are imported goods," said Xu.

Singles' Day, Part 2

Major cross-border e-commerce players in China are now tapping onto this trend and have greatly widened the selection of imported goods in an attempt to make Chinese New Year the second largest shopping fiesta after Singles' Day, which takes place on Nov 11 every year.

"Singles' Day is a made-up festival while Black Friday is an imported one. Only the Spring Festival is our own, and it should become the key for online shopping in the future," said Li Chengdong, an independent e-commerce strategy analyst.

Major multinational brands and retailers on Tmall Global, which was officially launched in February 2014 by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, started preparation for the Chinese New Year as early as November last year, and their Ali Chinese New Year Shopping Festival offers imported goods from 25 nations and regions.

"More than two years ago, Tmall discovered that the sales for imported food and health products peaked in the run-up to the Chinese New Year," said Ye Zhenshen, head of marketing department from Tmall Global.

"In contrast to the Singles' Day sales when most products are sold out almost immediately, the Chinese New Year sales last a longer period and focus more on food and health products. The demand will steadily grow as the New Year approaches. Sales would normally peak two weeks before the Spring Festival," added Ye.

Another e-commerce giant kicked off their Spring Festival sales on January 11, offering consumers a host of products including food, beverages, baby and maternity products as well as cosmetics., the Chinese branch of the US e-commerce giant, also launched a Chinese New Year sales festival starting January 11, selling more than 9 million products from its global store. The Amazon Global Store was launched in November 2014, and it allows Chinese customers to buy the same products on Amazon's US website at the same price from time to time.

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