China’s Travel Sector Taps Blind Boxes

What Happened: Domestic travel is set to substantially exceed pre-pandemic levels during China’s forthcoming Labor Day holiday. According to travel analyst ForwardKeys, as of mid-April, bookings for the period April 28 to May 9 were up 9.8 percent on 2019’s figures. Total flight tickets issued over the peak holiday period (May 1 to 5) were up 5.8 percent. Offshore duty-free sales are also predicted to spike with bookings to Sanya on Hainan Island almost 60 percent up on 2019 levels. ForwardKeys Vice President of Insights Olivier Ponti stated: “This year’s record-breaking Labor Day domestic travel is down to three factors: the release of pent-up demand, control of COVID-19, and imaginative marketing.”

The Jing Take: In recent years, Labor Day has become a vital time for the travel and hospitality sector. However, this season’s surge crystalizes the immense confidence citizens have in the handling of the pandemic. Over this year’s five-day holiday, they are continuing to explore local hotspots and amusements in place of international destinations — a necessary gear shift since the outbreak. 

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Interestingly, China’s desire to be entertained over the holidays is starting at the very point of purchase this year. Daredevil consumers are driving a surge in “blind boxes” indicating that the gamification of retail is ripe for all sectors to leverage. By offering imaginative promotions with undisclosed destinations, tenacious travel agencies are stimulating interest from curious consumers. Spontaneous travel packages have seen an uptick as well among families and younger travelers. By demanding this level of engagement in the simple act of booking a holiday, consumers are sending out a clear signal for brands looking to capture wallets. 

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.