BEIJING, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- China has seen new consumption patterns during the eight-day Golden Week holiday as pent-up demand unleashed amid effective containment of the COVID-19 epidemic.
From Oct. 1 to Oct. 8, sales of key retail and catering firms monitored by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) totaled 1.6 trillion yuan (236 billion U.S. dollars), with daily average sales climbing 4.9 percent compared with the National Day holiday last year, data from the ministry showed.
This year's Golden Week is the first long holiday after authorities lifted most of the domestic travel restrictions amid effective control of the epidemic, and is widely watched as a barometer of China's consumption vitality and growth potential.
Here are some new consumption trends spotted during this year's holiday.
As more people are getting accustomed to placing online orders for groceries, takeaways and other services, this year's Golden Week featured more internet-powered consumption.
In Mayang Miao Autonomous County of central China's Hunan Province, local agricultural products were marketed to the rest of the country via live streaming, which helped the county rake in a revenue of 450,000 yuan on a single day.
The internet has changed the flavor of traveling. During the holiday, more travel essentials, including personal care products and charging cables, were ordered online and delivered to hotels and scenic spots, a report by internet company Alibaba showed.
During the holiday, the Chinese spent more on high-end, expensive products. Sales of organic food, automobiles, smart home appliances and jewelry saw notable increases, MOC data showed.
Duty-free consumption, meanwhile, gained momentum at China's island province of Hainan, thanks to favorable policies.
Data from Haikou Customs on Friday showed that Hainan's four offshore duty-free shops received some 146,800 customers and sold 998,900 duty-free merchandise during the holiday, with total sales jumping 148.7 percent year on year to reach 1.04 billion yuan (about 155 million U.S. dollars).
Starting on July 1, Hainan increased its annual tax-free shopping quota from 30,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan per person. The range of duty-free goods has also expanded from 38 categories to 45, while the previous tax-free limit of 8,000 yuan for a single product has been lifted.
As people's income continues to rise and the number of high-net-worth individuals increases, China's consumption will continue to upgrade, Guotai Junan Securities said in a research note.
The COVID-19 outbreak disrupted the past Chinese Lunar New Year, a time for family reunions. It, however, seemed that Chinese people have taken advantage of the long October holiday to make up for the lost time.
Air tickets purchased by groups of three or more people soared compared with the Dragon Boat Festival holiday in late June, while more people turned to recreational vehicles for traveling, according to an Alibaba report.
Besides, the recovery of the box office was supported by family spendings. Film tickets bought by groups of three or more accounted for a larger share of the box office, data showed.
As people living in small towns in China are becoming more affluent, they are spending more on traveling. The Alibaba report showed travelers from third-tier or smaller cities accounted for 60 percent of all travelers during the holiday, with their average spending rising 50 percent year on year.
More than 50 percent of the commercial electrical appliances such as popcorn poppers and sausage grill machines sold during the holiday flowed to county-level markets, manifesting confidence of shop owners in the small-town economy, the report showed.
The trends indicate that China's small towns still have huge consumption potential, Guotai Junan Securities said. Enditem