Discounts Kickstart Economy As China Reopens, Urging People To Spend

Businesses are offering steep discounts to encourage people to spend as China starts to reopen for business following the coronavirus pandemic that put the country under quarantine, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday (March 25). 

The railway authority slashed some tickets 45 percent while provinces handed out entertainment and shopping vouchers.

Movie theaters are now back in business after going dark for nearly eight weeks. The 500 theaters made 30,000 yuan ($4,245) on Saturday, Reuters said, citing local press reports.

The discounts are intended to encourage people to leave the house as some businesses worry that the lockdown could have after-effects regarding spending.

“We’ve launched some discounted set offers to consumers in recent days, hoping to help consumers getting back to their normal life,” a Pacific Coffee chain spokeswoman told Reuters. Customers can get a cup of coffee and a bun for 20 yuan ($2.83).

The coronavirus lockdown in January and February caused the Chinese economy to drop by a fifth compared to the same periods in 2019, according to the government data.

“Trade, tourism catering and other services not only help to prop up an economy’s growth, but also embody a city’s vitality,” Zhang Jinghua, party secretary of Nanjing, reportedly told Yicai magazine at the beginning of the month. The city is offering a lottery drawing of 318 million yuan in shopping coupons.

Jinghua emphasized “the need to grasp the balance between epidemic prevention and rehabilitation and to create a safe and secure consumer environment.” 

The city’s effort triggered spending of about 10 million yuan in five days, the city said.

China experienced its worst decline in 30 years due to the pandemic that is sweeping the world after starting in Wuhan at the end of December 2019.

Factory production plummeted the most it ever had in 30 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. In January and February, total retail sales of consumer goods dropped to 5,213 billion yuan, a year-on-year decline of 20.5 percent.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.