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Chinese New Year - statistics & facts

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is arguably the most important festival in China, of very similar importance as Christmas to the western world. The festival celebrates the beginning of a year, based on the traditional lunisolar calendar. Traditionally, the Chinese New Year celebration lasts for 16 days, spanning from New Year’s Eve until the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the first lunisolar month. During Chinese New Year, people usually enjoy a consecutive 7-day holiday, including two relocated weekends. However, the year of Tiger in 2022 may be another unusual year, as the coronavirus pandemic still threatens the country and the world.

 Amid the pandemic 

Each year, the largest human migration in the world occurs around the time of the Chinese New Year. The period when millions of people travel back to their hometowns for family reunions is called “chunyun.” But from 2021, the chunyun has been put on hold. The Chinese government discouraged its citizens from taking non-essential trips across the country and urged people to celebrate the Chinese New Year festival where they were. In 2021, around 98 million passengers traveled during the Spring Festival in China and in 2022 - around 130 million people, representing approximately 77 and 69 percent reduction respectively compared to 2019.

Tourism was another industry that suffered from the travel deterrent. China’s tourism typically enjoys a skyrocketed growth for the long holiday, both in international and domestic travel. However, the tourism sector was battered by the coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of 2020. Though the spreading of the pandemic was mostly under control in 2021, the majority of Chinese New Year travelers took only short-haul trips within the same province both in 2021 and 2022.

Growth in the new normal 

One industry’s loss can be another industry’s gain. The Spring Festival in 2021 became a golden season for China’s entertainment providers and online retailers. The number of cinema-goers and box office revenue soared to new heights, as well as the number of online video streaming viewers. According to a major Chinese streaming service provider, over 2.3 billion Chinese audiences have watched videos online during the Chinese New Year holiday in 2021. Short video platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou gained increasing popularity among Chinese mobile users and were the most used apps during the Spring festival both in 2021 and 2022.

While China’s retail sales gradually recovered from the pandemic, an increasing number of consumers switched from in-store shopping to online shopping. More than 60 percent of Chinese consumers said they would increase their online spending on Taobao during the Spring Festival, followed by JD.com with 55 percent.

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