The Nintendo Switch and Ring Fit Adventure accessory were among the most popular items on e-commerce platform Pinduoduo (PDD) in the first quarter, alongside sports apparel and home-gym equipment, as millions of Chinese consumers sought to stay fit while under strict lockdown.
PDD sold more than 60,000 Nintendo Switch consoles and 18,600 sets of the Ring Fit Adventure (which replicates real-world movements in the game environment) during the first three months, according to the company, the second-largest e-commerce platform in China with 585 million annual active buyers.
The Switch was among the most popular item under PDD’s 10 Billion Yuan Subsidy Campaign. Sportswear sales jumped 137% in the first three months versus a year ago, while yoga mats (+528%), resistance bands (+341%) and push-up bars (+295%) also enjoyed brisk sales.
China imposed a strict lockdown in late January on the city of Wuhan, where cases of the COVID-19 virus were first reported, before extending quarantine measures to Hubei province and the rest of the country as the disease spread.
The country’s 1.4 billion people were ordered to shelter in place, and most factories, businesses and schools were shut in order to contain the virus. This week, the 11-week lockdown on Wuhan was finally lifted and its residents allowed to travel again. However, monitoring measures remain in place to prevent a resurgence of coronavirus infections.
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For the rest of China, back-to-work season meant a surge in demand for beauty products, with sales of the category up 163% in March compared with a year ago.
Lipstick sales climbed 274% on the PDD platform, while eye shadow and face wash sales rose 244% and 208%, respectively.
China is working to restart its economy following the two-month shutdown, with provincial governments giving out vouchers to encourage domestic consumption. Businesses like PDD and GOME Retail are also holding promotional events to stimulate spending through consumer subsidies.
China’s consumption patterns during and following the COVID-19 lockdown may hold a clue for most parts of the world, where billions of people are living under varying degrees of lockdown due to the pandemic.
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The number of monthly active users of fitness apps almost doubled in February from a year ago in China, while health-related apps jumped 153%, according to figures from QuestMobile, a research firm.
Usage of budgeting apps, as measured by the number of minutes, rose 58% the same month, while insurance apps registered a 30% increase in number of monthly active users, the QuestMobile data showed. The time spent on stock trading apps gained 85.7% as market volatility surged.