The Chinese New Year period has seen a reversal in the sluggish domestic apple market experienced this season on the back of a small crop, which sent prices soaring and put customers off purchasing.
The world's leading apple grower experienced severe frosts during the spring last year, which led to a 30% year-on-year drop in volumes and a big drop in sales as a result.
However, Yang Jie, director of the national apple engineering technology research center, told FreshFruitPortal that the sales during the Spring Festival this year were better than expected.
“Due to the high price, the overall sales of apple market in the past few months were slow. However, since the Spring Festival, the situation has been unexpectedly reversed, which has gone even better than in previous years,," he said. "The apple gift box, in particular, is very popular among consumers."
According to Jie, sales of Beijing's 'Qiu Xiang, a well-known domestic apple brand, were up about 10% from the same period last year. About 200,000 gift boxes of 'Cidoko', another Chinese brand, were sold in the run-up the Spring Festival, up 25% year-on-year.
“Gift box sales were generally not good in the previous Spring Festivals and vendors had to sell at lower prices in the end. This year, however, the situation is totally different," he said.
One reason for the rising interest in gift boxes could be Chinese consumers' trend toward varietal diversification, he said, explaining that combinations of different varieties and prices supplied by apple gift boxes can meet the varying demands of consumers at different levels.
In addition, in Chinese, the pronunciation of “apple” means "safe", which is very suitable for gifts.
Jie predicted that due to insufficient market supply, apple prices were unlikely to fall for some time after the Spring Festival.