Young Chinese drive new Spring Festival shopping trends

(People's Daily Online) 16:33, February 04, 2024

Young people shop at a Sam's Club store in Changsha, central China's Hunan Province. (Changsha Evening News/Liu Pan)

During the 2024 Chinese New Year shopping season, young people born after 1995 have taken center stage as primary consumers. While they hunt for trendy items, product quality and personal expression are their top priorities.

What do young people like to buy? Besides traditional choices like beef, lamb, fish, and shrimp, the post-95 generation has a more diverse palate.

At a Sam's Club store in Changsha, in central China's Hunan Province, Hu Ninghao, born in 1996, intended to buy king crabs. Despite the steep price of nearly 1,000 yuan ($139) per crab, he didn't hesitate.

"I want to treat myself to king crabs, Australian lobsters, and wagyu beef for the Chinese New Year's Eve dinner. These ingredients are more refined and of superior quality. I rarely get the chance to savor them, so I want to indulge during the Spring Festival," Hu said.

When shopping for the Spring Festival, many younger consumers value the sense of ritual that the goods they purchase bring, while also prioritizing enjoyment and interaction.

Convenience is another hallmark of the post-95 generation's Chinese New Year shopping.

Traditional dishes, once known for their complex preparation, are now easily accessible as pre-made options. These ready-to-eat meals have become central to the younger generation's Chinese New Year's Eve celebrations. Without needing to spend an entire day in the kitchen, they can now swiftly prepare a feast of traditional dishes in just 30 minutes.

"In the past, my grandparents and parents would spend the entire day preparing the Chinese New Year's Eve dinner, which was truly exhausting. But now, as young people, we don't make the dinner as complicated," said Xu Jiong, who works at a car company.

"Pre-made dishes ensure a delicious Chinese New Year's Eve dinner for the younger generation," noted a Sam's Club staff member in Changsha, highlighting the popularity of pre-made Chinese New Year dishes among young people.

In the past, traditional Chinese New Year goods such as food, clothing, and alcohol were the primary focus of holiday shopping. However, the post-95 generation's shopping preferences have broadened to include a wider range of boutique items and service-oriented goods, including watches, fitness equipment, cameras, and travel experiences.

"The concept of Chinese New Year goods isn't just about indulging in food and drinks; it's also about buying 'joyful experiences,'" said Zhang Chenxi, who, after working for three years without travels, decided to treat his parents to a trip during the Spring Festival holiday. "Harbin has been really popular lately, so we're going there for some fun. A joyful trip with my family is the best New Year gift," Zhang said.

Mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, musical instruments, and outdoor sports equipment have become popular purchases during this Spring Festival.

Data from the DEWU app, a platform specializing in trendy products, shows that guitar sales have nearly doubled compared to last year, while mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras have grown more than five times. Similarly, sports equipment like shuttlecocks and hiking shoes have significantly increased, with sales multiplying several times or even tenfold.

(Web editor: Chang Sha, Liang Jun)


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