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Spring Festival to ignite China's year of consumption promotion

Liu Ming

Editor's note: Liu Ming is an assistant research fellow from the department of economic forecasting of China's State Information Center. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

The Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, holds paramount importance as the most significant celebration in Chinese culture. During this holiday, individuals return to their hometowns to reunite with family and friends, often exchanging gifts as cherished tokens of affection.

To celebrate the Spring Festival, people also follow numerous traditions. These include activities like shopping for festive goods, spring cleaning, decorating with red ornaments, enjoying reunion dinners and exchanging greetings for the Chinese New Year.

Additionally, cultural and entertainment activities such as dragon and lion dances, setting off firecrackers and fireworks, attending temple fairs, and admiring lantern displays are also widely enjoyed during this festive time.

Meanwhile, this week-long holiday provides an opportunity for people to travel to other places. An increasing number of individuals choose to celebrate the Spring Festival with their families by traveling together and enjoying leisure activities in different locations. All these activities will bring about a peak season of consumption in food and drinks, clothing, entertainment, travel and so forth. The Spring Festival can thus be considered a significant driver for promoting consumption.

On February 8, 2024, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce designated 2024 as the "Year of Consumption Promotion." Enhancing efforts to promote consumption during the Spring Festival, which lasts from February 10 to February 17 for eight days this year, will mark a promising beginning to this Year of Consumption Promotion. To fully leverage the holiday consumption potential during the Spring Festival, it is recommended that private and public sectors focus on providing culturally rich products, activities and attentive public services to meet the growing pursuit for spiritual fulfillment and value-for-money purchases among consumers.

Private and public sectors are encouraged to harness the joyful atmosphere of the traditional Spring Festival and various folk activities to further activate cultural leisure consumption. Themed experiential activities that blend festivals, exhibitions, competitions, performances and so on are to be launched to create dynamic consumption scenarios in neighborhoods, commercial districts, parks, scenic areas and communities. Trendy food trucks, tea beverages, products of time-honored brands, cultural and creative products, trendy novelties, comic conventions, live music performances, and hands-on crafting experiences are among the products and activities to be incorporated to create immersive consumer experiences. Given that 2024 is the Year of the Loong, also known as the Year of the Dragon, it is only fitting to include dragon-themed products and activities in those cultural festival events.

While there are countless folk activities and celebrations – particularly temple fairs and lantern festivals – held throughout China during the Spring Festival, few have gained significant recognition. To address this, local public sector entities together with private operators may identify the most promising existing celebration activities and elevate their brand presence both domestically and internationally to attract greater participation. In 2024, nearly 500 activities themed 'Happy Spring Festival' will take place in nearly 100 countries and regions worldwide. Leveraging this 'Happy Spring Festival' brand, emerging local event brands can also be highlighted during this promotional period to enhance their visibility abroad.

Meanwhile, the public sector are expected to exert maximum effort to ensure the safety and convenience of consumers during the Spring Festival. To facilitate individual participation in various cultural experiences and ensure convenient travel, efforts should be made to strengthen the monitoring and information dissemination of road network traffic information. Measures should be introduced to provide convenient public transportation, increase transportation capacity in key commercial districts and tourist attractions, and enhance the dispatching of rented and ride-hailing vehicles. To prolong the visiting hours during the Spring Festival, museums, art galleries, libraries, memorials and other public cultural venues – especially those hosting specific celebrations and festive events – are encouraged to extend their opening hours. Additionally, consumer rights should be safeguarded by maintaining accessible channels for complaints and reports, such as through the public complaint platforms "12315" and "12345," during the Spring Festival period.

Moreover, customers are becoming more price-sensitive and are placing greater emphasis on products and services with good value for money. Given this, promotional activities during the Spring Festival have to attract a significant increase in consumer spending. While the Spring Festival is typically regarded as a regular promotional season for a lot of private businesses, the public sector can also play a role. By collaborating with businesses, they can launch promotional initiatives such as distributing consumer vouchers, providing discounts, or even offering free admission to scenic areas at cultural and leisure experience gathering venues to further stimulate consumption.

(Cover via CFP)

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