New products popular online over Spring Festival holiday
As many in China have chosen to stay put during the Spring Festival holiday to contain the spread of COVID-19, a large part of holiday shopping has moved online and people are changing their consumption habits.
Entertainment equipment like mahjong machines and instant foods such as self-heating hotpot are among the best-selling items for the Chinese New Year.
As of Jan. 25, daily sales of mahjong machines have hiked 130 percent year on year during the holiday shopping season which began on Jan. 17 on Taobao, one of China's major e-commerce platforms, according to a Taobao report.
Most purchases were made in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, Sichuan Province and the eastern province of Zhejiang, according to the report.
The tile game, usually played by four players for leisure, is gaining popularity, especially among the younger generation. The report indicates that people born after 1985 and those born in the 1990s accounted for most customers.
Taobao vendor Wu Xianfeng has seen his sales of mahjong machines more than triple over previous years. He sold 1,087 machines in less than a week, priced at 1,699 yuan (262.69 U.S. dollars) apiece.
Wu attributed the robust sales to people's growing awareness about COVID-19 prevention and control.
"My parents are both big fans of mahjong, and they used to go to mahjong parlors before the epidemic, so I bought a machine for them to play at home," said Luo Changying, who decided to stay in Chongqing for the holiday rather than visiting her parents in her hometown.
As many like Luo have canceled their family reunion plans in response to the call from Chinese authorities to avoid long-distance travel during the holiday, ready-to-serve foods such as self-heating hotpot and instant snail rice noodles have also become popular.
Sun Zhengfei, who works in Chongqing, bought 20 self-heating hotpot packages at a discount during the holiday shopping season.
"I can enjoy the food at home whenever I want. It is perfect for stockpiling during the pandemic," said Sun.
A flagship Taobao store selling self-heating hotpot has sold more than 50,000 hotpot packages over the last month, according to data provided by the store.