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12 Oct, 2014

How Chinese spent their money going during Golden Week – People’s Daily Online

Beijing, (People’s Daily Online)  October 10, 2014 – The seven-day national holiday is always a prime period for spending. Where was the money going during this year’s national holiday? Statistics released by the inter-bank transaction system and China Unipay’s big data platform give us some answers.

Nationwide from October 1 to 8 p.m. on October 7, a total of 510 billion yuan was spent by swiping China Unipay cards, a year-on-year growth of 23.5 percent. On the day of October 1 itself, 72.18 million transactions were conducted, an increase of over 30 percent compared with the daily average.

The statistics also show that people from Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Henan and Shenzhen spent the most.

Among all the categories, food had a year-on-year growth of 4.8 percent. Ma Ming, Deputy Manager of the Information Center of China Unipay, said that although the total consumption of food increased, the average amount of a single transaction decreased, which suggested that less consumption came from public funds and the general public was the main driver of food spending.

Supermarkets were still the main beneficiaries of shopping, with a year-on-year growth of 40.1 percent, showing that there is still strong demand for consumer goods. Sales of gold, in contrast, dropped by 15.7 percent on a year-on-year basis. “Last year, people were all rushing to buy gold,” said Ma Ming. “As the gold price has declined this year, purchases of gold have fallen away. Common sense has returned.”

The statistics also show that people spent more money on fuel, with year-on-year growth of 26.2 percent, suggesting that more people were opting to drive themselves to their destinations.

Outbound tourism was a highlight of holiday expenditure this year. The statistics suggest that although traditional travel destinations such as South-East Asian countries are still favored, Chinese tourists are now traveling further afield. South Korea, Germany and the UAE enjoyed the biggest increases in tourist spending, showing respective increases of 111 percent, 102 percent and 88 percent.

The spending patterns of outbound tourists have also changed. “In the past,” said Ma Ming, “Chinese tourists tended to spend mostly on tour fees and shopping. But now, spending on leisure is increasing. We should take note of the fact that outbound tourists now choose to spend more money on accommodation and leisure, which also shows that independent outbound travel is growing in popularity. Chinese people no longer go abroad only for shopping. Outbound tourism is becoming more about leisure and experiencing foreign countries.”

The article is edited and translated from《这个长假,钱都花哪了?》, source: People’s Daily, author: Xie Weiqun.