Via China Daily

An employee arranges snack products at a supermarket in Qingdao, Shandong province. [Photo by Yu Fangping/For China Daily]

A few days prior to the weeklong Spring Festival holiday that starts from Jan 24, Wang Wen has started to prepare for the family gatherings.

Her parents-in-law are expected to join her family of three to spend the holiday with them. Wang, 33, is busy shopping for imported fruits, snacks, and frozen meats to prepare for the Lunar New Year Eve banquet the night of the 24th.

Imported cherries from Chile, apples from the United States, beef and kiwi fruit from New Zealand or Australia are on her shopping list. She is also considering getting more fresh food, candy, wine, beer and flowers to add more fun to the holiday.

“The New Year Eve banquet is one of the most anticipated events in our family,” said Wang. “Eating healthy, fresh and having fun will be our theme.”

Family consumers prefer a lot of fresh food, especially imported and high-end fruits.

Across the country, consumers like Wang have boosted retail channels which have unveiled a series of promotional activities to celebrate the Year of the Rat and to diversify the New Year banquet with several high-end food and beverage products.

Directly-imported products saw a year-on-year growth of nearly 30 percent in 2019 in Walmart, with newly released products up by double digits.

Walmart China has launched “Lunar New Year street” at its more than 400 stores, community shops and online distribution channels early this month.

Brand-new products with unique features, medium-and-high-end products that are extremely popular, have lifted the overall sales for the category, mostly the confectionary and biscuit sectors.

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In the alcohol segment, quality wine, liquor and beer are top of the charts. Walmart has signed with Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd for delivery of 100,000 bottles of Feitian Moutai, with the first batch distributed to five Sam’s Club stores and five Walmart hypermarkets before the Spring Festival.

Liquor has accounted for 66 percent of its Spring festival alcohol sales on its online and offline channels, with expectedly large sales in its medium-and high-end brands.

Walmart’s imports of Chilean cherries this year have grown by double digit levels compared with the same period of the last Spring Festival a year ago.

Fish is also essential to the New Year banquet during the Spring Festival because it means “Having sufficient every year” in the Chinese idiom. Sales of frozen fresh fish, crabs, shrimps and other imported sea food have grown 50 percent year-on-year during the Spring Festival shopping period, according to Walmart.

Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel China, said the traditional festival is now a reflection of a new lifestyle and status of living in the country.

Based on statistics from Alibaba and JD, traditional Chinese brands and established household names are still immensely popular, Yu said. New and fun products with the Year of the Rat IP are winners among younger consumers. Spring Festival is also a peak occasion for high-end gift packages, Yu said.

Given delays in the delivery system during the Spring Festival, purchases at brick-and-mortar retailers are also expected to grow as shoppers prefer to visit physical stores at this time of the year.

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