The celebrations for Chinese New Year have boosted the world's second-largest economy but China is not alone in benefiting from the two week-long extravaganza, as foreign companies are now capitalising on the event.
Consumer price inflation in China rose 1.8% year-on-year in January, compared with a 1.5% increase in the previous December month, marginally lower than the anticipated 1.9% gain. The key driver was a seasonal jump in food price inflation, which surged 4.1% last month compared with the corresponding in 2014, comfortably above the 2.3% gain recorded in December.
"Food prices always rise ahead of Chinese New Year but due to the shift in the timing of the holiday more of this increase took place in January this year relative to 2015," said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.
Unsurprisingly, given Chinese citizens traditionally leave the big cities behind to return home during the period, the travel and hospitality industry have been the major beneficiaries during Chinese New Year. "Spring Festival has historically been an opportunity for Chinese citizens to go home and spend time with their family, benefiting domestic transport," said Brian Buchwald, chief executive of China-focused consumer intelligence group Bomoda.
"However the last few years – and this year is no exception – have witnessed an acceleration of Chinese visiting abroad, impacting international air travel and lodging. Other categories experiencing a positive impact are those in the personal gift giving space."
Sales of new cars in the world's second largest economy jumped 9.3% year-on-year in China, as demand grew in the lead up to the two-week festival, which traditionally sees Chinese consumers spend on big-ticket items.
However, while the Chinese economy was boosted by the festival, which began on 8 February this year, the economic impact of the Lunar New Year celebrations extended well beyond the Chinese borders. "Foreign companies have not just awakened to the realization of the impact of Chinese consumers, they are now honing in on the habits and drivers of that consumption," Buchwald added.
"Holidays such as 11/11, the so-called 'Singles Day', Golden Week, and Chinese New Year are now prime opportunities for brands to capture that audience."
Over the last nine months, China's economy has sparked widespread concerns as a mixture of disappointing economic data and market volatility fuelled worries of drastic slowdown in Asia's largest market. However, initial figures suggest consumers were quick to dismiss the fears of a fading economy as they loosened their purse strings.
"Estimates right now show healthy growth for Chinese international travel," said Buchwald. "One interesting note is the downturn in visits to Hong Kong relative to other Asian markets, like Japan and Thailand.