Jan 22, 2021|

Remote Orders Spike Ahead of Chinese New Year: Customers in Lower-Tier Cities Show Love From Afar


by Kelly Dawson

With a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, many Chinese are preparing to stay in the cities where they work during the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday. For residents of cities in the northeast of China, Henan, Shandong and Sichuan, JD’s ongoing expansion into lower-tier markets has made it possible to express their affection for loved ones via “remote orders” of special treats and gifts sent to other cities.

Across all regions, remote orders such as rice, noodles and cooking oil increased by 30-50% YOY, which may be attributed to a desire to ensure loved ones are well fed and safe during a time when many families are separated.

Additionally, remote orders tended to demonstrate a nostalgia for the specialty snacks and treats of people’s places of origin, with families sending such treats to their loved ones living in bigger cities, and those living apart from family also choosing to send similar gifts to their hometowns.

As is to be expected, those gifts varied depending on the region. Read on for a breakdown from the JD Big Data Research Institute that reveals much about what Chinese consumers hold close to their hearts (and stomachs) ahead of Chinese New Year.


Northeast China

Remote orders placed in Shenyang since Jan. 1 increased by an astounding 94% YOY; while remote orders from Harbin and Changchun increased by more than 50%, with top destinations including Shandong, Hebei and Guangdong provinces.

Among the most popular products purchased for remote order to these cities were Chagan Lake fish, which doubled in sales, along with Harbin red sausage, ginseng from the region, and abalone slices.

Family members also demonstrated their love, with remote orders of products purchased to be sent to Liaoning increasing by 85%, with most originating in Inner Mongolia, Shandong, Hubei, Liaoning and Fujian. Popular products included fruits, seafood, convenience foods and snacks, red heart pomelo, handmade fish balls, dried oysters and more.

Remote orders sent to Harbin originated in Hubei, Shandong, Liaoning, Fujian and Sichuan, with popular food and snacks including mountain-raised pork, Arctic shrimp, fresh sea cucumber, Dezhou braised chicken and Zhoucun sesame seed cakes.

Customers in Hubei, Liaoning, Fujian, Shandong and Sichuan were responsible for the majority of remote orders sent to Changchun, with popular products including oranges, Sichuan-style sausages, hot pot ingredients and more.


Henan province 

Residents of Zhengzhou city placed about 30% more remote orders YOY since Jan. 1, with an increase of 1-3 times for sales of wine, meat and milk. Most remote orders were sent to Guangdong, Henan, Shandong, Sichuan and Hubei, with the most popular products including sweet potato vermicelli and braised chicken.

On the other hand, remote orders sent to Zhengzhou increased by 60%, originating in Hubei, Beijing, Fujian, Shandong and Liaoning. The most popular products sent from Hubei included duck neck, brown sugar dumplings and preserved eggs; while remote orders placed in Liaoning favored food and snacks like sea cucumber, abalone slices, dumplings, the traditional dish Buddha-Jumping-Over-the-Wall, and more.


Shandong province

Remote orders from Jinan, the capital of eastern China’s Shandong province, increased by 38%, with beverages, seafood, meat and condiments increasing by 2-4 times YOY for the period since Jan. 1. Other popular products included dried abalone, fresh sea cucumber, and sesame seed cakes; and the most popular destinations for these orders were Beijing, Guangdong, Henan, Sichuan and Northeast China.

Meanwhile, remote orders sent to Shandong province increased by 70%, originating in Beijing, Shanghai, Hubei, Fujian and Liaoning, with top product categories including meat, eggs, lower-temperature dairy products and more. For example, the popular products sent from Beijing were mutton,  and the Daoxiangcun Bakery gift box; while from Fujian, the most popular products were Hong Kong-style dried squid and shellfish. Among the most popular items from Hubei were duck neck and preserved thousand-year-old duck egg.


Sichuan province

Finally, remote orders placed since Jan. 1 from Chengdu, capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province, also spiked with an increase of 75% YOY. Among the most popular products were dried meat, snacks, hot pot meat balls, eggs and candied fruits.

Residents of Chengdu placed remote orders to Yunnan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Gansu and Hebei, with the most popular products including Sichuan-style sausages, hot pot ingredients, oranges, and more.

On the other hand, remote orders sent to Chengdu originated in Inner Mongolia, Fujian, Shandong, Liaoning and Henan, with the most popular categories including meat products, seafood and snacks like sesame seeds, sweet potato noodles, Dezhou braised chicken and more.


Uninterrupted delivery

Fortunately, customers can rest assured that their remote order gifts will arrive in time. JD Logistics announced that it will ensure delivery during the Chinese New Year period, for the ninth consecutive year. As the first logistics company in the country to offer this service, JD is now also expanding its delivery policy to include the first three days following New Year’s Eve, during which customers in 30 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, nearly 300 cities and 1,500 counties and districts can receive orders as fast as usual.