Resuming Work Makes Chinese Consumers' Buying Appetite Grows

As night fell, a hotpot restaurant in Hefei, the capital of Anhui Province, was bustling with masked diners queuing for feasting.

"We have restored dine-in service since March 18 and saw increasing customers these days," said Zhang Huaiyu, a waiter of the restaurant. "Those who come later may have to wait for over two hours as the restaurant would be full around 6:30 p.m."

The Ministry of Commerce said on March 28 that the resumption rate of large chain supermarkets and convenience stores reached 99.5 percent and 95.4 percent, respectively, with their sales volume surpassing the levels recorded in the same period last year.

In addition, 95.8 percent of shopping malls and 80 percent of catering industries have resumed work as of March 27.

As the epidemic recedes and work and production resumption gains momentum, Chinese consumers' buying appetite inhibited by the epidemic rebounds.

Xu Jin, manager of a barbecue restaurant in Hefei, was impressed by consumers' healthy appetite even before resuming work.

"Many customers called to ask when we would resume business," said Xu. "People have been cooped up at home for a long time and yearn for food like hotpot, milk tea and barbecue."

To ensure safety, restaurants carry out strict epidemic prevention measures such as scanning health codes and measuring body temperatures when customers enter the restaurant. Diners are suggested to sit at spaced tables.

According to a survey released by Jiangsu provincial consumer rights protection committee in early March, some 90 percent of the 21,192 respondents opted for shopping as compensation as the epidemic levels off.

Dining out, shopping in malls, watching movies, singing in KTV and traveling are the most preferred, the survey showed.

"Many shopping plans were shelved due to the epidemic outbreak, and finally, I can satisfy the craving," said Sun Jie, who spent more than 1,000 yuan buying clothes in the shopping mall after enjoying a hotpot feast.

Besides warming consumption offline, the recovery of logistics also drives the boom of online shopping.

During days around International Women's Day on March 8, the overall sales on Tmall were far more than the previous year, with sales of more than 20,000 brands surging over 100 percent year on year, according to China's e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Data from the food delivery platform showed that the sales of takeaway milk tea surged after work resumption, with that of the fourth week increasing by 140 percent from the first week. Many customers chose larger cups of milk tea, and the proportion of orders asking for adding ingredients grew by three times.

Regions across the nation also rolled out favorable measures to spur consumption. Many cities encouraged government officials to take the lead in consumption and launched voucher programs to stimulate spending.

Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, for example, has announced the issuance of over 300 million yuan of vouchers to its residents and those in difficulties.

Source: xinhua

Editor: Crystal H

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