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December 25, 2009

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Christmas sparks online sales rush

THE moment she unwrapped the parcel, Yang Ting who works for a foreign company in Beijing marveled at the set of delicate Christmas pompons, the third gift she had bought online within a month to decorate her house.

"With these pompons, a 1-meter-plus Christmas tree and some colored lights I bought online the other day, I can feel the excitement of Christmas," Yang said.

Like Yang, more Chinese consumers have turned to the Internet for Christmas gifts and decorations this year.

Statistics from e-commerce companies show that online sales growth for the holiday season is stronger than the year before, even though prices of Christmas gifts are generally higher.

Lu Weixing, PR manager of Taobao, Asia's biggest e-commerce Website, said: "Transaction value amounted to 4.8 billion yuan (US$705.88 million) between December 8 and 14, far exceeding the daily turnover of 500 million yuan during the same period last year."

His words echoed those of another two managers of e-commerce Websites.

"From December, the transaction volume on grew fivefold from last year," said Yang Sha, its PR manager.

Qiao Yajuan, manager of, said she expected Christmas sales this year would double from a year ago. "Though gift prices rose 20 percent year on year on average, consumers' passion for shopping isn't flagging," she said.

Orders dropped last year amid the financial crisis when most people just browsed but rarely placed orders.

"Shoppers looked for practical gifts instead of luxury ones last year. But it seems luxury gifts are back as jewels and bullion sales have grown sharply this year," Qiao said, "We have had to hire more delivery people to meet the demand."

Zhang Yanping, an analyst with iResearch Consulting Group, attributed online sales growth to the country's economic recovery which lifted people's consumption confidence, especially those in second and third-tier cities.

Hu Guanzhong, an analyst with Taobao, said the fast development of the cybereconomy played a crucial role in boosting Christmas sales this year.


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