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New models boost holiday spending

Zhu Wenqian and Xin Zhiming
Updated: Oct 9,2018 8:57 AM     China Daily

New and growing spending models, such as mobile payment and online shopping, and emerging ways to travel, such as tailored tours, have helped bolster domestic consumption, pushing retail and food service sales to 1.4 trillion yuan ($202 billion) during the past weeklong National Day holiday, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Oct 7.

Analysts said the changes in spending and travel show that the country’s updated consumption structure will help boost overall national economic growth.

The average daily retail and catering sales were up by 9.5 percent year-on-year during that period, according to the ministry.

Sales of products that reflect an updated consumption structure, such as organic food, smartphones and smart home furnishings and vehicles, have registered fast growth, the statement added.

Sales of some ultra high-definition televisions with large screens surged by five times year-on-year during that period, and the sales of water purifiers, washer-dryer combinations, air conditioning and smart toilet lids grew 100 to 200 percent year-on-year, the statement said.

Trends such as internet shopping and ordering food online remained popular. During last week’s holiday, the sales of some e-commerce platforms expanded by more than 20 percent year-on-year, and orders placed with online food sites monitored by the ministry jumped more than 50 percent year-on-year, it added.

Travelers also have pushed for higher-quality and more tailored tourism experiences, the ministry said.

“Chinese consumers, especially those born in the 1980s and 1990s, are increasingly pursuing travel experiences that are comfortable, tailored and individualized,” said Neil Wang, president of consulting company Frost & Sullivan China. “The change in the demand side will stimulate the change of the supply side, and both sides will together drive the growth of the sector and the overall economy.”

Online travel agency Ctrip said that during the National Day holiday, the number of travelers who chose tailored tourism services surged by 150 percent year-on-year, and their average spending per person exceeded 6,000 yuan.

The most popular overseas destinations for tailored tours included Japan, Southeast Asian countries and tropical islands, and domestic destinations like Lijiang in Yunnan province, Xining in Qinghai province and Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

“Tailored tours are an upgraded form of travel,” said Li Fan, general manager of the domestic tour department at Ctrip. They include such things as an exclusive driver and tour guide. A traveler can even put together a tailored group, and the schedule will be highly flexible to satisfy the specific demands of the travelers, Li said.