This week, Alibaba Group’s travel booking platform Fliggy said Chinese travelers made longer distance trips around the year-end holidays as pandemic-related travel restrictions eased.
In other news, the group’s hypermart chain Freshippo said its grocery brand Hema Xiansheng turned profitable last year, a milestone in new retail business in China.
Also, scroll down for a deep dive into how Swiss-based watchmaker and jeweler Piaget is combining physical and digital stores in China. We also picked out for you the top 5 China e-commerce trends to watch as you plan for the year ahead.
Trains, Planes and Automobiles
Wanderlust is growing in China as the country eases pandemic-related travel restrictions.
Data from Alibaba’s travel booking platform Fliggy showed that inter-city and inter-provincial travel accounted for 80% of all the bookings on the platform between Dec. 31 and Jan. 2, reaching a record high of last year.
Young travelers born after the 1990s and 2000s accounted for over 70% of those who made the bookings. The most popular destinations were Shanghai, Chengdu, Beijing, and Sanya, a city on the southern tip of China’s Hainan Island.
Bookings for island vacations and surfing trips jumped six-fold year-over-year, while snowboarding and ice-themed tours increased more than three-fold. Chinese tourists were also hungry for international travel as bookings for overseas travel tripled year-over-year during the holiday.
Freshippo’s Grocery Brand Hema Xiansheng Turns Profitable
Alibaba’s high-tech supermarket chain Freshippo saw its grocery brand Hema Xiansheng turn profitable in 2022, wrote Freshippo CEO Hou Yi in a letter to staff earlier this week.
Founded seven years ago, Freshippo sells vegetables, seafood, dairy, and meat to consumers both online and in-store. In China, it operates over 300 Hema Xiansheng stores and nine Hema X membership stores.
Freshippo delivers farm-to-shelf fresh produce from all over the world to Chinese consumers, backed by Alibaba’s logistics network and fulfillment center chains.
According to Hou, Freshippo aims to serve over 1 billion consumers and reach RMB1 trillion ($145 billion) in sales between 2023 and 2033.
Piaget CEO Benjamin Comar On How China’s Consumers Are Shaping The Future Of Luxury Watches
Piaget’s timing is perfect. The Swiss-based watchmaker and jeweler opened its latest store in Hong Kong just ahead of cross-border travel restarting with mainland China.
Staff at the boutique on Hong Kong’s busy Canton Road are readying Piaget’s latest collections, videos of the 149-year-old company’s craftsmanship and QR codes to navigate Piaget’s online websites for an expected wave of Chinese tourists.
The Geneva-based Maison’s latest moves include localization during the pandemic and artfully combining physical and online stores for a new generation of digitally savvy Chinese shoppers.
“Between digital and physical channels, there will be deeper integration,” Piaget CEO Benjamin Comar told Alizila in an interview.
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Top 5 China E-Commerce Trends to Watch In 2023
China, the world’s largest e-commerce market in sales, belonged to the innovators, the passionate and the adventurous in 2022, and their consumption behavior offers a roadmap for the year ahead.
Among categories, outdoor sports and pet care in China grew beyond niche communities, while virtual influencers and the metaverse showed potential to made good on their promise to transform online retail.
We drew on insights from Alibaba’s ecosystem and consulted e-commerce experts and entrepreneurs to identify the top five emerging e-commerce trends that could gain traction in 2023.
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