Feb 3, 2021|

JD Big Data: Three Trends from this CNY Grand Promotion


by Ella Kidron

A recent report published by the JD Big Data Institute revealed a handful of trends observed during the Chinese New Year grand promotion.

Fei Lu, senior data analyst at the Institute, said: “Spring Festival is one of the most important festivals in China. It is also an important shopping season, but there were some concerns that reduced travel to hometowns would cause a consumption contraction. Our data, however, shows demand staying strong with growth driven in new sectors.”

Here are three trends worth noting:

1. New definition of “home”

Home is a vital ingredient of the Chinese New Year. Ordinarily, many Chinese people will travel from the city where they work to their hometowns to celebrate CNY with their big families. A new wave of COVID-19 cases across several provinces in January has prompted many consumers to opt to stay put rather than travel.

But the saying “home is where the heart is”, rings true as consumers in the big cities rush to send gifts home, and hometown friends and family are eager to send a “taste of home”. This is one of the reasons for a spike in “remote orders” (orders where the sender and recipient city differ). Interestingly, the highest number of such remote orders coming from Beijing head to Hainan.

Looking more closely at CNY Grand Promotion orders, rice, flour, oil, alcohol and other necessities have seen a 1-2-time increase YOY. In addition to products, sales of services such as laundry, healthcare, auto, pet services and more have increased 6-10 times compared with the same period last year (according to the lunar calendar).

2. Driving “new” areas of consumption

The concept of staying put in the place of work instead of traveling has meant increased consumption in new categories. Comparing the consumption structure for CNY last year and this year, it is possible to see that pet life, maternal and child, personal care and education and books consumption as a proportion of the total is more significant. Consequently, with a reduction in travel and visits, the alcohol and gift category expenditure as a proportion of consumers’ total CNY spending has gone down.

Consumption remains vibrant, especially for high quality, high-priced goods like gold and silver, milk powder and luxury goods. “CNY is a very good time for brands, especially for the release of new products, which always lead the consumption trends,” said Lu. “During 2021, the number of consumers buying new products on JD’s platform increase as much as during Singles Day. This is what we defined as the ‘Rebuilding of Consumer Confidence’.”

3. Young consumers set the trend; the rest follow it

Micro-demand has triggered multiple opportunities for brands to capture trends. For example, during this CNY Grand Promotion, the famous traditional dish Buddha-Jumps-over-the-Wall has seen explosive demand in southeastern provinces, with sales increasing 320% YOY, an old soda brand, Arctic Ocean, increasing 207% and Hanfu (traditional Chinese dress worn in ancient times), which has become very popular in the last few years, increasing 78%. Shanghai consumers are keen on bird’s nest and Ferrero chocolates, while footbaths in Wuhan, Hubei province increased by 115%. Consumption of electronic firecrackers in Beijing more than doubled compared with the same period last year.

Lu said: “JD’s consumption data can provide an accurate reference for brands to release new products, control the pace and position marketing.  In the chaotic, post-epidemic era, consumers need a strong and powerful guarantee and leader, instead of being blindly conservative and cutting back on expenditure.”