Love creates growth opportunities amid COVID-19 recovery
By Xu Xinchen
Chinese lovers are free to go out dating on this year's Valentine's Day, as the country has contained the coronavirus.
"Of course, we will dine out," a man in southwest China's Chengdu City told CGTN while looking at his girlfriend.
It was hard enough for French bistro owner Wang Jue to survive in her business last year. This year, she is capitalizing on the opportunities presented by Valentine's Day coinciding with the Spring Festival this year.
"[This year's] Valentine's Day is on the third day of the Chinese New Year [holiday]. People are still used to traveling on the third day. But many haven't gone home to celebrate the New Year. So, we expect pretty good business," said Wang Jue.
Wang Jue put her Valentine's menu on Yelp-like online urban guide app Dazhong Dianping days ahead of the occasion. Over half of her business traffic came from those who found her place on the app.
One day before Valentine's Day on February 14, Wang Jue's restaurant Daniel's was almost fully booked.
"For things we found too costly, we indulge ourselves on this day," a couple told CGTN.
Retailers did not miss out on this opportunity either, as most of the shops were closed at the same time last year due to the COVID-19.
A 170-year-old boutique store, Lane Crawford, suggested that household items are one of its most popular gift categories in this year's Valentine's Day, which includes furniture, home appliances and scented candles.
"Consumers start to re-evaluate reasons why they buy luxury products. They start to focus more on items with better quality and practical uses," said Wang Jin, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Lane Crawford China.
The company has rolled out special events and promotions to attract more consumers. Gifts, including specially designed red envelopes and Chinese New Year wishes written in calligraphy, will be given to customers.
However, the company did admit that the drop in travelers due to COVID-19 amid the Spring Festival could negatively impact their performance.
Online growth has been faster than offline retail, but declined to share figures, said Wang Jin.
Chinese in their 20s and 30s have become the largest spenders for Valentine's Day, according to an earlier report issued by traveling website Quner.com.
"It is a bit different from the usual Chinese New Year holiday when all the delivery guys and all the logistics were shut down because of everybody going back to their hometown," said Jason Yu, the managing director for consulting firm Kantar Worldpanel's China office.
"This year, I would say that e-commerce platforms and retailers are more prepared, much more prepared than last year in terms of their capacities to deliver goods and services to the customers."
Yu is optimistic that this year's Valentine's Day has presented a huge opportunity for digital players, as the government called people to stay put during the Chinese New Year holiday.