As another important festival after the "May Day" holiday, the Dragon Boat Festival has become an important window to observe the process of consumption recovery. During the Dragon Boat Festival just past, the domestic catering, retail, tourism and other markets were very popular, and the vitality of consumption was accelerated. Various localities have also taken advantage of the momentum to launch the summer consumption season, and stimulate new consumption potential by issuing consumption coupons and holding a number of consumption promotion activities.

However, a number of institutions pointed out that the number of tourists and tourism income recovery during the Dragon Boat Festival were weaker than those during the May Day holiday, and the per capita expenditure of tourists had not recovered to the same period in 2019, indicating that residents' income expectations and weak consumption have not been substantially improved, and the foundation for economic recovery is not yet solid.

Recently, the central government and local governments have intensively released policy signals to promote consumption, and a number of pro-consumption policies have accelerated their implementation. Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Shu Hengting said a few days ago that with the arrival of peak consumption seasons such as summer, residents' holiday leisure shopping, travel and other consumer demand will be further released, coupled with relevant consumption promotion policy support and activity promotion, the consumer market is expected to continue to maintain a steady growth trend in the second quarter.

A number of consumption figures exceeded expectations

Holiday consumption is an important window to observe economic vitality and a touchstone to test the success of economic recovery. During the Dragon Boat Festival, a number of consumption data exceeded expectations.

According to business big data monitoring, during the Dragon Boat Festival, the sales of seasonal folk customs and upgraded goods increased significantly, and the sales of rice dumplings of key monitoring enterprises increased by 64.3% year-on-year, and the sales of gold and silver jewelry and sporting goods increased by 13.6% and 3.4% year-on-year. Leisure consumption such as food tasting, watching movies and exhibitions, escaping the summer and playing in the water, picnic camping continued to heat up, with a year-on-year increase of 18.5%.

According to preliminary statistics from the Ministry of Transport, on June 6~22, railways, highways, waterways and civil aviation nationwide are expected to send a total of 24 million passengers, an increase of 1.4% over the same period in 2022, but only recovered to the level of 89.1% in the same period of 2019.

In terms of tourism, the number of tourists during the Dragon Boat Festival exceeded that before the epidemic, but the income has not yet recovered to the pre-epidemic period, and the popularity of travel has decreased compared with "May Day". On June 6, according to the comprehensive calculation of the data center of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of domestic tourism trips nationwide was 24 million, a year-on-year increase of 1.06%, recovering to 32.3% of the same period in 2019; Domestic tourism revenue reached 112.8 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 373.10%, recovering to 44.5% of the same period in 2019. During this year's Dragon Boat Festival, the per capita expenditure of people traveling was 94 yuan, a new high since 9, but 352.2020% lower than the 2019.409 yuan in the same period in 8.

After the relaxation of epidemic prevention and control measures in 2023, the tourism market gradually recovered, and by the "May Day" holiday, the number of tourists and total tourism revenue exceeded the same period in 2019 for the first time, but the total tourism expenditure during the Dragon Boat Festival fell again, indicating that the current foundation for consumption recovery may not be solid.

Taking advantage of traditional festivals, the scene of deep integration of culture and tourism in various places is constantly innovating. Many scenic spots have launched activities such as dragon boat racing and ancient music appreciation in a timely manner, and traditional folk customs and folk art have been organically integrated into cultural spaces such as museums, art galleries, and cinemas. According to a special survey by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 87.9% of tourists visit cultural and museum venues, historical and cultural districts, participate in various intangible cultural heritage items, and participate in cultural activities such as music festivals and concerts during holidays.

Shen Jiayi, a senior researcher at the Strategic Research Center of Ctrip Research Institute, believes that this year's Dragon Boat Festival holiday has become the "hottest Dragon Boat Festival" in five years, bringing a successful end to the first half year of the tourism market re-entering the growth track. At the same time, as this year's Dragon Boat Festival is approaching the summer vacation, driven by parent-child, graduates and other groups, the summer tourism market will open ahead of schedule, releasing the long-accumulated tourism consumption potential.

At present, in order to meet the summer consumption season, all localities are planning products of different forms and themes, so that the products are more diversified, and the consumption scenarios are innovative and distinctive, so as to further boost market confidence and fully release consumption potential. For example, Beijing launched the "Consumption Season Night Capital", linking more than 40 business districts, more than 200 brands, and 1,<> stores in the city, integrating business travel, culture and sports, and carrying out more than <> themed activities to promote nighttime consumption; Tianjin launched the "<>rd Haihe International Consumption Season" and launched a series of activities such as the V<> Summer Carnival and the Tianjin Quality Consumption Rural Tour.

Wang Yun, a researcher at the China Institute of Macroeconomic Research, said that all localities have actively taken action in creating a good consumption atmosphere and creating a more rewarding characteristic consumption, and promoted consumption as the starting point to drive the overall improvement of economic operation, providing favorable conditions for the sustained and rapid recovery and expansion of consumption. Traditional holiday consumption is constantly renewed, which is in line with the trend of upgrading China's residents' consumption to developmental, enjoyable and quality consumption. It is necessary to further exert efforts from the supply side, provide more high-quality goods and services, meet and create consumer demand, and promote the sustained recovery and expansion of consumption.

Pro-consumption policies still need to be strengthened

Since the beginning of this year, a series of measures to expand domestic demand and promote consumption have continued to make efforts. According to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics, in May, the total retail sales of consumer goods were 5,37803.12 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 7.5%, down 7.1 percentage points from the previous month. In January ~ May, the total retail sales of consumer goods 5 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 187636.9%.

Fu Linghui, spokesman of the National Bureau of Statistics, said that although the growth rate of consumption has fallen from last month, it is mainly the impact of the increase in the base of the previous year, and the growth of market sales is stable. At present, the overall improvement of the employment situation is conducive to increasing residents' income and improving consumption capacity. All departments actively introduce policies to promote consumption, which will enhance residents' willingness to consume. The deep integration of online and offline consumption, the accelerated development of new consumption formats and new models, is also conducive to expanding consumption. The enhanced role of consumption will effectively promote economic recovery.

Since the beginning of the year, the central meeting has repeatedly emphasized that the recovery and expansion of consumption should be given priority, and many departments have proposed to promote consumption in terms of increasing residents' income, providing financial services, and improving the consumption environment. At the local level, according to incomplete statistics from Guojin Securities, as of mid-June, more than 6 billion yuan had been invested in consumer coupons in many places to promote consumer demand; At the same time, some regions have also held consumer festivals, exhibitions, construction and renovation of commercial blocks and other supply-side policies to boost consumption.

Zhao Wei, director of the China Chief Economist Forum, said that local consumption promotion may be limited by its financial constraints, in contrast, the central government's consumption promotion measures may break through financial constraints. As land finance continued to be sluggish, local government fund income fell by 5.16% year-on-year in the first five months, and some areas also led to a significant increase in the pressure of special debt interest payments. In contrast, some of the measures introduced by the central government to promote consumption at the national level may avoid constraints such as local financial resources and debt pressures.

Recently, various ministries and commissions have intensively issued signals to promote consumption. The Ministry of Commerce said on June 6 that it will focus on continuing to improve consumption policies, continue to do a good job in consumption activities, and constantly innovate consumption scenarios. During the upcoming summer consumption season, a series of consumption promotion activities will be launched.

Meng Wei, spokesman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on the 16th that he will speed up the formulation of policies to restore and expand consumption, continue to improve the consumption environment, and release the potential of service consumption; Stabilize automobile consumption, accelerate the construction of charging piles, energy storage and other facilities and the transformation of supporting power grids, and vigorously promote new energy vehicles to the countryside.

Automobiles are the majority of consumption, accounting for about one-tenth of the total retail sales of consumer goods. In order to support the development of the new energy vehicle industry and promote automobile consumption, the Ministry of Finance, the State Administration of Taxation, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the "Announcement on Extending and Optimizing the New Energy Vehicle Purchase Tax Reduction Policy" on the 21st. The Ministry of Finance said that preliminary estimates that the implementation of the extension policy, the total scale of vehicle purchase tax reduction and reduction in 2024~2027 will reach 5200 billion yuan.

Zhao Wei said that in the medium term, the key to promoting employment, raising residents' income level or expanding domestic demand and promoting consumption. Under the economic repair and differentiation at the beginning of the year, the employment of young people is under pressure, and the slowdown in the recovery of residents' income may be an important factor restricting residents' willingness to consume and consumption ability. Since June, employment assistance for college graduates, cash-for-work relief for migrant workers, and ensuring market entities have frequently issued stable employment policies, which may partially alleviate employment pressure, promote the restoration of residents' income, and indirectly boost consumption.

The NDRC said that it will work with relevant parties to focus on three tasks in promoting high-quality economic development and promoting the income of urban and rural residents. The first is to implement the annual key tasks of income distribution, the second is to promote Zhejiang's ten typical experiences in promoting common prosperity, and the third is to strengthen the work of increasing residents' income through linkage. In the next step, we will rely on platforms such as the Inter-ministerial Joint Conference on Deepening the Reform of the Income Distribution System to form policy synergy and work synergy, continue to promote the implementation of various key tasks of the year, and strive to achieve basic synchronization between residents' income growth and economic growth.

Yicai Author: Zhu Yanran