Shoppers kicked off the Year of the Tiger with a roar, inspired by the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing and readily available meals that reminded consumers of mom’s cooking.
The world’s largest e-commerce market caught fire as netizens scoured sites for trending items such as big cat hats for babies, traditionally worn to scare off evil spirits.
Olympic merchandise also flew off virtual shelves as consumers coveted gear sported by Olympic athletes. Energy-saving home appliances also shone as more sustainable consumption habits took root.
Although many Chinese couldn’t travel to see family members this year due to the spread of the Omicron variant, they ordered take-aways of regional specialties to help them celebrate in traditional style. On consumer-to-consumer retail platform Taobao, sales doubled of Chinese sausages, sea duck eggs and buffalo milk.
The Lunar New Year holidays fell between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4 this year and are one of the most important festivities in the Chinese calendar. Many brands and merchants use the occasion to activate marketing campaigns and stock up on popular items in anticipation of a surge in demand.
We have gathered a few key trends from the festivities:
Olympics Games Fans
The first week of February heralded more than the Year of the Tiger; it also kicked off the Winter Olympics Beijing 2022. More than 1 million netizens visited the official Olympic store on business-to-consumer e-commerce platform Tmall, resulting in several product categories selling out within a day. The Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022’s mascot, Bing Dwen Dwen, was gone in seconds.
Beyond Games merchandise, the Olympics are giving winter sports sales a significant boost. Between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4, demand for ski equipment increased by more than 180% on Tmall compared with this time last year. Purchases of ice sports gear rose 300% over the same period.
Sales of down jackets, coats and sweatshirts jumped on the Tmall flagship store of Hong Kong-listed ANTA Sports. Top sellers were Olympics-themed down jackets emblazoned with the Chinese flag, and the sweatshirt sported by Chinese-American teen skier Eileen Feng Gu.
Winter Sports and Leisure
On Fliggy, ice and snow tourism orders increased by more than 30% during the Spring Festival compared with last year. Meanwhile, vacation packages combining snow experiences with hot spring visits reached new levels of popularity, rising more than 40% year on year.
China’s Generation Z is driving this wave of interest in snow-related holidays. Snow tourism bookings increased by more than 80% year-on-year among consumers born after 2000, far exceeding other age groups.
Appetite for Ready Meals
Sliced duck, crispy pork and peppered chicken soup were high up on the menu. Sliced, diced and marinated vegetables sizzled on Hema, with sales climbing 345% year-on-year.
Southern Chinese have long been fans of a quick meal, but consumption of ready meals is catching on in northern cities as well, Tmall research showed, filling the plates of dumpling-obsessed residents in Beijing, Hubei and other northern cities.
Chinese consumers are hunting for tigers, but no live animals are being harmed in the process. Products depicting tigers, such as sweaters, bags and hats, are hot items, while younger consumers snapped up tiger pendants.
The year-on-year search volume for the term “tiger” on Tmall and Taobao, leapt by 874% over the Spring Festival, according to the Tmall research. Preliminary data also suggests that sales among brand names containing the word “tiger” also received a 70% boost, such as cross-over SUV Chery Tiggo, made by Chinese manufacturer Chery Automobile.
A Global Affair
The Lunar New Year captured the imaginations of consumers around the world. On the eve of the Spring Festival, searches for “Chinese New Year” and “Year of the Tiger” were recorded by cross-border e-commerce platform AliExpress in more than 200 countries and regions. Products featuring the big cat soared in popularity globally, ranging from mobile phone ornaments to sweaters and hats.
Made in China
The “Made in China” label is becoming a marker of quality, as data from AliExpress shows. International orders for Chinese smartphones rose 25% year-on-year during the holidays, dominated by brands including Xiaomi, realme and Oneplus.
Smart home appliances also proved popular, with sales doubling year-on-year.
Additional reporting by Ivy Yu