Sep 8, 2020|

JD Data: Back to School Shopping: More Masks, Streetwear and Cosmetics


by Ella Kidron

As further indication of an entrance into the new normal, consumers heading back to school here in China are stocking up on masks, with mask sales seeing an 18 time increase as compared with the same period last year. Many schools require students to take a nucleic acid test prior to the start of school. Transaction volume of JD Health’s nucleic acid test booking service has seen an obvious increase in the last week. Affected by the coronavirus outbreak, students are also opting for more personal care items, such as lunch boxes / food storage containers, electric toothbrushes and even electric lunch boxes increasing by 141%, 114% and 86% YOY respectively.

After a bout of home schooling or online lectures under the pandemic, students and parents alike are looking forward to the return to school in the new normal. JD Big Data from the middle of August shows that this anticipation is being reflected in recent purchases.

As students prepare to meet each other in person for the first time in half a year, consumer data reveals an increased attention on personal appearance related products. Cosmetics and skincare saw a 120% YOY transaction volume increase. Designer and streetwear apparel sales growth reached 183%. From a back-to-school fashion perspective – perhaps a symptom of half a year living in sweatpants – consumers are preferring convenience and comfort. Sales of casual pants were 2.9 times that of jeans, while sales of dresses were 3.8 times that of skirts. At the same time, students are getting a jumpstart on prepping for winter, with scarves, gloves and other winter gear seeing a year on year sales growth of over 50%.

Students living in dormitories are opting to spruce up their bedding with sales of fiber quilts, fiber pillows, mattresses, bedding sets and fragrant pillows ranking among the top five products in the category. Sales of latex pillows increased by more than 50% YOY.

Students are adopting a work-hard play hard attitude with actual school supplies as well as entertainment-related products seeing significant increases. The volume of stationery supplies purchased by students increased 79% year-on-year, among which pens, as well as gaming consoles and related equipment up more than 60% YOY. Mobile phone cases and protective equipment were up 73%. Looking at the purchases of books by colleague students, sales of English course books are 10 times higher than the previous year.

Beijing ranks first in terms of computer and digital products, stationery, mobile phones, makeup and skin care sales, all of which have increased 60% YOY. With significant improvements in the COVID-19 situation, students in Hubei province (capital is Wuhan), pay specific attention to health protection. Mask sales were up 40 times as compared with last year. Lunch containers and electric lunch boxes increased by 226% and nearly 120% YOY respectively. After eight months away, students and Wuhan’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology returned to blankets moldy from disuse. Since then, Zhangfeng Wu, a JD courier, has delievered an average of 300 new blankets a day to a single dormitory at the university.