Hello, everyone! Welcome back to MaoMi Chinese!
Two years ago, MaoMi Chinese discussed the "Double Eleven Shopping Festival." Double Eleven, meaning November 11th, is a shopping festival that occurs in China every year on this day. It's somewhat similar to the Black Friday shopping festival in the United States. On this day, many people buy a lot of things. However, this year's Double Eleven shopping festival is a bit different. People have started to practice "consumption downgrade." What is consumption downgrade? Why are people starting to practice consumption downgrade? Today, let's chat about it together.
In the past few years, people have been experiencing consumption upgrade. Consumption, meaning buying things, spending money. Consumption upgrade means buying better and more expensive things. In the past decade, China's economy has been doing very well, and people's salaries have been increasing year by year. When people have money, they want to buy better and more expensive things, such as bigger houses, more expensive cars – that's consumption upgrade. However, in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people lost their jobs, and many others experienced salary cuts. At that point, they couldn't afford to upgrade their consumption, and they had to practice consumption downgrade. Consumption downgrade, the opposite of consumption upgrade, means people buy fewer things and opt for cheaper items.
Every year on Double Eleven, both online and offline stores offer discounts. Some offer 20% off, some 50% off, and even some with 70% off. Some stores offer buy one get 1 free, buy 2 get 1 free, and so on. When you go shopping in markets in China, you can try to ask ‘Could you offer me a discount.’
In the past, people used to "chop their hands" buying things. "Chop hands" doesn't mean actually chopping off one's hands; it's a metaphor. It means people couldn't resist buying things when they saw many businesses offering discounts. After buying, they often regretted their purchases, feeling like they didn't need those items. Jokingly, they said they would chop off their hands so they wouldn't buy again. Nowadays, people are less willing to "chop hands" and instead compare prices and buy cost-effective items. Comparing prices before buying is known as "comparing three stores," and cost-effective means both good quality and affordable prices. Nowadays, due to reduced salaries for many people, they often compare prices and only buy cost-effective items.
There are also many young people who like to engage in "sheep shearing" (薅羊毛). Sheep shearing doesn't involve real sheep; it means buying the most cost-effective items. After consumption downgrade, many young people are no longer willing to be "harvested like leeks." Harvesting leeks doesn't mean literally harvesting vegetable leeks; it means being deceived. For example, after seeing an advertisement, I bought weight loss pills, but they turned out to be useless. That's when I realized I had been harvested like leeks.
Does your country have a shopping festival? Do people still enjoy shopping, or have they also embraced consumption downgrade? Are you someone who engages in "sheep shearing," or have you been "harvested like leeks"? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!