According to the latest data released by China UnionPay on Feb. 11th, the transaction volume processed by UnionPay over the weeklong Chinese New Year holiday (from Feb. 4th to Feb. 10th) surged 71.4% to a record high of 1.16 trillion yuan (US$170.6 billion) — the first time the figure exceeded the benchmark of 1 trillion yuan.
“Dining, shopping, transportation and entertainment activities are the major parts of consumer spending this year, accounting for a proportion that is 4.4 percentage points higher than that of the same period last year.” said Chen Han, an analyst with UnionPay. “Two features deserve our particular attention. First, consumers are more willing to spend money this year. Whether it is filial piety to the elderly or rewarding children or themselves, trading volume has kept growing. Second, spending on entertainment and travel also grew fast,” he added.
Consumer’s spending on daily consumption with UnionPay cards grew by 74.7% year-on-year, higher than the average rising rate. In particular, spending on gold accessories jumped over 90 percent from a year ago as it’s a Chinese tradition to buy gold products or jewellery to bring luck to family and friends. In addition, spending for festival preparations maintained a steady and rapid growth, and many people ordered for New Year’s Eve dinner and family reunion dinners. Central and Western China saw the highest growth for dining spending.
Spending on cultural entertainment and sporting activities is a big boost to the spending surge this year. Sporting activities such as skiing and exercising are popular among more and more consumers, and sports-related spending grew by 120%. Cultural entertainment spending, such as watching dramas and movies, more than doubled compared with the same period of last year. Ningxia and Inner Mongolia were among the regions that saw the highest growth for entertainment spending, marking a trend of consumption upgrade.
Spending on travel-related packages and hotels grew by over 90% and outbound travelers used UnionPay cards in 137 countries and regions, which is 10 more than last year. Countries and regions along the Belt and Road became emerging travel destinations. UnionPay’s transaction volume in markets such as Myanmar, Morocco, India, Turkey and Finland witnessed a significant increase. Meanwhile, overseas tourism related consumption become more diversified: UnionPay saw substantial transaction volume increase at railways, airlines, gas stations, public transportation and supermarkets.
With the continuous expansion of the acceptance of UnionPay mobile payment services, more and more consumers prefer safer and easier mobile payment products, especially the UnionPay mobile application. The number of payments through UnionPay's mobile products increased 2.5 times and the volume jumped 4.4 times. Outside mainland China, the transaction volume of UnionPay contactless and QR code payment methods grew by about 120% year-on-year, and consumers prefer to pay with UnionPay contactless payments in Singapore, Australia and Russia, and pay by scanning UnionPay QR code in Hong Kong and Thailand.
Also, more and more visitors came to China to experience the Spring Festival. With more than 100 million UnionPay cards issued outside mainland China, cardholders from 37 markets used UnionPay cards in mainland China during the holiday, driving the transaction volume grew by over 20%. These visitors also include a large number of Hong Kong and Macao residents who paid by scanning UnionPay QR codes with the UnionPay app.