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A growing number of Chinese consumers, seeking higher-quality consumer goods, are splashing out more money during this year"s Spring Festival on imported fresh food and intelligent home appliances.
The retail and catering sectors posted sales of 926 billion yuan ($146 billion) during the holiday period that began on Feb 15 and ended on Wednesday, an increase of 10.2 percent over the same period last year, according to Ministry of Commerce figures released on Wednesday.
The ministry said the key term for the Lunar New Year holiday is "consumption upgrade", as Chinese shoppers spent more on restaurants, retailers and movies, with higher quality and diversified products and services gaining popularity.
The online sales revenue of imported fresh food during the holiday increased by nearly 300 percent year-on-year, with king crab from Chile, fish from New Zealand and Boston lobster favored by Chinese consumers, according to a report released by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.
The spending on aquatic products by consumers from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region surged by five times year-on-year, while cherries from Chile, mangoes from Vietnam and durians from Thailand were popular among Chinese farmers.
Orders of cherries from Chile saw an increase of more than 400 percent year-on-year.
Zhang Fang, an employee from Taiyuan, Shanxi province, went online to buy her favorite cherries from Chile and king crab at JD, another major e-commerce platform, during Spring Festival.
"I ordered online through an app and have them delivered to my home within one day. The lobster is very fresh and the express delivery service is satisfactory."
Moreover, Alibaba reported that the number of consumers who visited its Hema Xiansheng fresh food supermarkets in Beijing rose by 131 percent, Hangzhou by 129 percent and Shanghai by 89 percent during the holiday, compared with other times.
Farmers from Henan province spent the most on smart home products, including intelligent speakers and drones, the report said. Sales revenues increased from steam mops (320 percent), dishwashing machines (188 percent) and window cleaning robots (169 percent), compared with the same period of last year.
Experts said more affluent Chinese consumers are picking up on new ways of spending and come up with new requirements for retailers as they upgrade their consumption.
With improving incomes, consumers have begun to pursue higher-quality lifestyles and prefer going online to shop. Brand awareness is rising, said Lyu Haoze, an analyst at China E-Commerce Research Center.