Is thrift back in fashion in China?

Is thrift back in fashion in China?

Hello again from Aim2D, tucked in just under #3 runway of Beijing’s Capital Airport in sunny Shunyi. Or at least, so they say. Last week and so far this, have seen hours on end of electrical storms and buckets of rain. But we’re not ones to let things, least of all the weather get us down, so we will push on with a look at business, marketing, tech or social news in and around China for Tuesday 14th June.

Starting off with our headline: “Is thrift back in fashion in China?”
Ok, something of a contentious, click bait headline we admit, but we recently read an article that started us wondering.

At the weekend, Caixin Global, one of our more favourite trusted Chinese business and tech media, ran a story under this headline:
Chinese Household Savings Grow as Covid Restrictions Curb Spending.”
Naturally we were intrigued. Does this, perhaps, mean today’s Chinese are returning to the frugality and thriftiness of their forebears? Their story ran thus: (we have precised it for brevity)

Chinese households saved more in the first five months, as harsh Covid-19 restrictions curbed spending.

Apparently during that period China’s household savings increased by 7.86 trillion yuan ($1.17 trillion), about 50.6% more than the increase in the same period last year. (Among other things, we wondered by our savings had not increased thus!)

Maybe a mix of good and bad news for the China Gvt, who, may on one hand be happy to see households cut back on debt. But on the other hand, recent years have seen them trying to shift China’s economy away from manufacturing towards a more consumer driven model.

However, with June 18th just 4 days away (618 gala) and Covid cases falling in most places around China, will Chinese consumers continue to hold onto their cash?
Or will we see a return to the mad buying frenzies of the past?
JD. Alibaba and countless merchants and brands, both domestic and imported, will be hoping so. With China’s economy beginning to show signs of a potential stall, Gvt may have a bob each way.

What is China’s 618 Shopping Gala?

The 618 shopping festival in China originated back in 2010 as the then fledgling JIng Dong (now JD) celebrated their birthday. Obviously June 18th. Since then it has been held annually, joined by Alibaba, other E-com platforms, and brick and mortar stores. Subsequently it has grown from what was initially a “pretty good bargain” to an obscenely massive buying orgy where JD and Alibaba between them alone rake in close to 1.5 billion dollars in sales.

However, it is not just consumers who (im)patiently await this gala. It is also closely watched and followed globally by economists, brands, foreign private and Gvt analysts, all who see it as a barometer on China’s economy generally and the health and depth of China’s consumer spending in particular. Firms who have spent the past year researching, analysing and preparing for a China entry will be watching closely before deciding to either push the big red “LAUNCH” button or abort.

So, maybe the question on (almost) everyone’s lips this year is;
Will this years China 6/18 shopping bonanza out sell previous years?”
Now, BicBusiness is not, of course, normally one to gossip, but according to our resident soothsayer cum witch – pictured in our head image – the tea-leaves and a chat with Yorick suggest not. To add a tiny bit more scientific backup, our quick straw poll and look at the buzz around would suggest that the hype is not there this year. Time will tell.
We talk more about the 618 festival in China here:

Oh, and that savings article we mentioned earlier? You can read it here, courtesy of Caixin Global Premium – meaning it is a subscriber article. Well worth reading though: Chinese Household Savings Grow as Covid Restrictions Curb Spending

Thanks for reading our China news, marketing, tech and social media article – we hope it was useful, relative, informative, valuable.
We would be honoured if you subscribed to our content.

Not Useful?
Then perhaps you may like to chat directly and personally with Everlyne?

But please, be aware of local (China) time when calling from overseas. Despite rumours to the contrary, Everlyne is human, not a bot, she does eat, drink and sleep – sometimes.

Whatever your question re Chinese Business, Marketing Tech or Social Media, she will know the answer, or know someone who does! A brief intro below;


In 2003 Everlyne Yu co-founded WPBeijing Marketing Studio with Englishman Peter Bic, now known as Bic Brands.

She began Uengager, a company focused on customer engagement, as a SaaS MarTech company in 2017.

Hello, Nihao, I’m Everlyne

I love to talk about and help people understand the amazing ways MarTech and SaaS can work to strengthen your business engagement with Chinese consumers.
I know you have questions or want to talk about your brand or business in China so please, drop me a line opposite. If you prefer live chat, call and talk to me live, in person direct.


Everlyne is also a key note speaker, lecturer and KOL on MarTech in China. She is CEO of Uengager, business development officer for Bicyu.

Everlyne hs been privileged to work with a variety of international organisations, from VW, Cushman Wakefield, Sodexo, Bristol Myers Squibb to local Chinese firms such as Midea, and OK Order.

If you’re looking for guidance, tips, advice on any aspect of starting or growing a business in China or training, coaching your existing China marketing team for excellence, be sure to check out Uengager. Home page and base for Everlyne Yu. Read her short bio – opposite left – or contact her direct – below – for a free, heart to heart chat.

Bicyu client logo bar
A selection of Bicyu clients since 2003


Follow Uengager on Wechat

Note: App is in Chinese and needs WeChat account to access.

WeChat QR Code


Take Tea with Everlyne


Covid’s persistence means this address is not always available.
But Beijing has many tea shops or cafes where we can still meet and chat

B1 XlabBuilding 1, TusPark B, Tsinghua Science Park

No.1 East Zhongguancun Road,Beijing, Haidian District 100084China

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