Online shopping comes to rescue as virus puts travel plans on hold

Hostesses sell agricultural products via livestreaming at a public center for e-commerce related services in Feidong county, Hefei, Anhui province, in January. [Photo by Xu Qingyong/For China Daily]

With people encouraged not to travel during the Spring Festival holidays to prevent the spread of COVID-19, online shopping provides an alternative for spending the traditional festival.

Data released by Taobao, a leading e-commerce platform, suggests that search volume for the phrase “Spring Festival goods” soared by 240 percent on the first day of its Spring Festival shopping carnival, with customers born in 1990s accounting for over 60 percent of its total orders.

Many young people chose small home appliances as gift sent to their parents. On Suning.com, another major e-commerce platform, the search amounts for electric hotpot cooker, oven, and air fryer multiplied.

For those born after 1995s or 2000s, the top popular goods included pastries, fruits, and health supplements, according to JD.com.

Family reunion dinner is an essential part of the Chinese New Year celebration. This year, many time-honored brands have rolled out semi-finished packages for the New Year”s Eve dinner through e-commerce platforms.

With many young people in big cities planning to take a local break rather than return to their hometown, some take-out delivery service providers are offering semi-made package meals tailored for one or two people to cater to their needs for New Year’s Eve dinner.

In addition, livestreaming has become a major way for people to purchase New Year goods during the pandemic. Data shows turnover from livestream broadcasts on Taobao grew by 150 percent year-on-year during its Spring Festival shopping carnival.  

About Linda J. Picard

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