“After getting up in the morning, I returned the windbreaker and light trousers I had ordered online a few days ago. The parcels had yet been dispatched, but it’s already too cold to wear them.” After waking up freezing cold, a citizen surnamed Zhang returned the newly-bought autumn clothes and quickly added a down jacket into the shopping cart, ready to place the order on November 11.
As a powerful cold wave began to sweep across the country on November 8, consumers in many places have switched on their “wrap up warm” mode, which was earlier than usual. Data from Taobao Tejia, Taobao’s discount platform mainly serving consumers in counties and sub-county regions, shows that compared with autumn clothes, consumers across China prefer down jackets, cotton jackets, heaters and other "warm plus" items, products that provide extra warmth. The cold wave has pushed the daily orders of these items up by more than twice on Taobao Tejia.
This winter is indeed marked by a new consumer demand: to wrap up warm earlier. Data from Taobao Tejia shows that the demand for thermal underwear, down jackets, cotton jackets and other "warm series" items increased drastically, with those products’ daily orders up by 243% on average. In addition, compared with long underwear necessary for the seasonal shift from autumn to winter, consumers who care more about cost-effectiveness would rather go straight to thermal underwear, down jackets and other "warm plus" clothes.
It is no coincidence that Jingdong has also witnessed a shopping craze of thermal items on its platform since the arrival of cold air. The company’s data shows that, over the past few days, sales of thermal items, including down jackets, woolen coats, woolen sweaters, thermal underwear, long underwear, winter boots, pajamas and other related categories have grown rapidly. For November 3 alone, items under the thermal clothing category have been searched more than 30 million times on JD.com.
And among all these items, down jackets, taken as a winter essential, are much sought after. Data from Jingdong shows that this year’s first peak of the online sales of down jackets came on October 14, followed by the second peak five days later on October 19.
Thermal innerwear is another popular shopping category this year in addition to down jackets, and in this respect, different consumer groups are showing different preferences. The post-95s group, namely people between the ages of 18 and 25, makes up the largest group of online buyers of skin-colored leggings, as wrapping up warm without diminishing their charm becomes a winter fashion among this group; the post-85s group, namely people between the ages of 26 and 35, is the largest group of online buyers of self-heating thermal clothes, which are both warm and light.
The cold wave also provides a chance to care for the elderly. Before the cold wave arrived, young people had already begun preparing thermal clothes for their parents. 62% of thermal clothes for the elderly were bought by the post-95s and post-85s groups. Nearly 50% of the thermal underwear for the elderly was bought by the post-85s consumers, and nearly 25 % of the cashmere sweaters for the elderly were bought by the post-95s consumers.
Plus, the cold wave has also pushed up the sales of electric blanket, heater, foot spa machine and other daily necessities for winter. As the cold wave swept across the country, major e-commerce platforms have seen orders of "warm series" items double on their platforms. According to market analysis, impacted by both the cold wave and the ongoing shopping spree brought by the Double 11 festival, sales of thermal items are expected to peak again.