Tsunami of deliveries over holiday season

Ding Yining
Food delivery and online shopping sites reported strong sales over the Chinese New Year holiday, as most people avoided gatherings and visits to crowded shopping areas.
Ding Yining

Food delivery and online shopping sites reported strong sales over the Chinese New Year holiday, as most people avoided gatherings and visits to crowded shopping areas.

Ele.me's food delivery of semi-prepared food surged 400 percent in the week before Chinese New Year's Eve around the country, and takeaway for one-person meals doubled. 
 
In the first three days of the holiday, Meituan's takeaway orders in Shanghai more than doubled over last year, and the types of food and beverages available for takeaway increased 77 percent.

Beijing had the most orders for New Year's Eve dinner (nianyefan), followed by Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Nationwide, delivery orders jumped 81 percent, with more than a quarter of customers under the age of 25.

Shanghai consultant Sherry Chen said she bought a neck massage device for her parents in neighboring Jiangsu Province.

"I ordered the new-year gift from JD in advance to make sure it arrived before I went back home to join them for the holiday," she said.

Shanghai-style chain restaurant Xin Bai Lu is one of the caterers actively responding to new trends as people are eating at home more. Its delivery income accounts for about 38 percent of total sales during non-holiday times, and it offered two types of set meals for nianyefan.

In addition to food and groceries, decorative items with Chinese New Year elements — such as fortune stickers and mahjong sets — were also popular.

Gift packages for set meals are bestselling items on JD, with sales increasing more than 300 percent in Beijing and Shanghai and 170 percent in Guangdong Province.

Shanghai marketing executive Jenny Huang ordered semi-prepared dishes from a local restaurant instead of set meals.

"It's the best way to make sure everyone gets their favorite dishes without spending too much energy cooking for the whole family," she said.

JD Daojia reported a 190 percent sales increase for new-year gift packages during the February 4 to 17 period, while sales of playing cards and board game also surged. Many began to prepare for a busy year ahead, which boosted sales of packaged instant food and drinks on the site that links consumers with physical stores and supermarkets.

Cooking materials and semi-cooked meals were also popular, and imported alcoholic beverages like brandy, rum and sparkling wine are some of the fastest-growing items.

Alibaba's logistics affiliate Cainiao reported strong growth between February 4 and February 15, with sales during that period increasing more than 400 percent since 2019.

The most popular destinations for online shopping packages are inland regions like Qinghai, Tianjin, Yunnan, Guangxi and Hainan.

Sales of nutritional supplements on Tmall from time-honored brands like Lei Yun Shang Group and Tong Ren Tang doubled over the 11-day sales period.

Some also made use of the weeklong break to purchase home appliances.

Suning's Shanghai stores reported sales of premium electric appliances increased almost 400 percent over the holiday.

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