Chinese e-commerce companies have launched promotions for the upcoming Spring Festival holidays and the past week has seen 4.8 million customers make special holiday purchases on the country's largest online retailer taobao.com, data from the company showed Wednesday.
Food is the most popular category of purchase for the Spring Festival holidays, which falls in February this year. About 4.5 million people bought food totaling 1.1 billion yuan ($177 million) between January 8 and January 15, the company said in a statement sent to the Global Times Wednesday.
Besides candy and chocolates, local specialty foods have sold well this year, partly due to popular TV show A Bite of China, which features traditional and regional specialties, the statement said.
"We sold out 15,000 kilograms of homegrown oranges in just seven days on taobao.com," said Li Chun'e, a taobao.com retailer based in Yichang, Central China's Hubei Province.
Some customers choose to make their Spring Festival purchases online because it is convenient and cheaper.
"I can order gifts online and send them to my parents directly, so I do not need to bring a lot of luggage when I go home during the Spring Festival traffic rush," Yang Hanqing, who currently works in Beijing but whose hometown is in Lanzhou, capital of Northwest China's Gansu Province, told the Global Times Wednesday.
Taobao's statement said that 2.46 million people have sent online purchases to their hometowns in the past week. About 21 percent of them work in South China's Guangdong Province, a major destination for migrant workers.
Other major online retailers such as 360buy.com, dangdang.com and amazon.cn also launched Spring Festival promotions and offered discounts as high as 90 percent off original prices.
But analysts said the online sales boom may bring some problems in its wake.
"The online shopping boom will put pressure on the country's logistics industry, and as many workers go home ahead of the Spring Festival holidays, a smaller labor force will make the pressure more obvious," said Xu Yong, chief advisor of China Express and Logistics Consulting.
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