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Special product buys turn hot among young consumers

Trend of 'emotional economy' expected to provide more business opportunities

By ZHU WENQIAN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-04 09:25
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Farmers pick apples, special local products, in Yan'an, Shaanxi province, on Oct 21. SHANG HONGTAO/FOR CHINA DAILY

The warming weather has prompted young Chinese consumers to purchase more high-quality sports equipment, as well as various kinds of auspicious items for the Chinese New Year, further driving growth in the nation's booming retail market.

Young Chinese who returned to work from their hometowns after the Spring Festival holiday break have chosen to make online purchases of special local products, such as flower cakes of Yunnan province, Shacha Noodles of Xiamen, Fujian province, and dried beef from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Sichuan province, known for its delicacies, has been ranked tops in terms of the total value of special local products that consumers have bought online.

The local cuisines of Henan, Shandong, Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces have also been popular, according to internet company Alibaba's e-commerce platform Taobao.

Meanwhile, young people have been purchasing various new products to indicate their expectations for the new year. Some office workers have bought ornaments on the theme of the god of wealth, and auspicious money tree Lego bricks to adorn their office desks.

During the two-week period until the end of the Spring Festival break, search volumes on the theme of the god of wealth and building blocks on the theme of good luck surged tenfold online, according to Taobao.

"The emotional economy constitutes an important part of economic growth in the digital age. The concept originated from technological progress and psychological demands of people," said Hong Yong, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation's e-commerce research institute.

"Such an emotional need has provided more business opportunities for enterprises. It is also foreseen to have a significant impact on people's everyday lives and the economy," Hong said.

In addition, young people have also bought products indicating love, expecting a potential romance to bloom.

For instance, the combination of peach blossoms and gold has been highly favored by young consumers. Some domestic jewelry retailers have launched new-style gold bracelets designed with elements of peach blossoms.

Shenzhen, Guangdong province-based jewelry retailer Chow Tai Seng said it sold more than 40,000 gold bracelets with peach blossom designs and lucky beads at the brand's Tmall online flagship store during the two-week period until the end of the Spring Festival holiday.

In addition, young people have increasingly been pursuing healthcare products in the new year.

Sales of liver and eye-protection tablets and anti-aging capsules more than doubled year-on-year in the two-week period before the end of the Spring Festival holiday, said Tmall International, Alibaba's international e-commerce portal.

Sporting goods and outdoor equipment have also been sought after by consumers.

Boating, hiking and cycling are the first choices of consumers in spring and summer, and diving, river exploration, and cycling are expected to become the most popular outdoor sports in China this year, according to a new report by Tmall.

Since the beginning of this year, the online transaction value of diving equipment has increased by 120 percent year-on-year, and the number of transactions has grown by more than 200 percent on a yearly basis, Tmall found.

"Diving equipment indicates a higher consumption growth momentum. The number of consumers who purchased basic equipment such as wetsuits and goggles has been the most, while flippers and diving bags have seen increased growth in sales," said Chen Qing'e, director of the outdoor sports business at Tmall.

So far this year, some cycling equipment such as kettle racks and lights has seen their sales value jump by 70 percent year-on-year, while the total transaction amount has increased by 50 percent year-on-year.

Bicycles that have a price tag of 10,000 yuan ($1,390) or more have seen continuous sales growth, indicating that more cycling enthusiasts have become more professional, Tmall said.

"Chinese consumers have participated in increasingly diversified outdoor activities. With the younger demographic, specialized equipment and advanced consumption are the latest trends," Chen said.

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