2022-04-13 08:48:12

Worried over long lockdowns, Chinese consumers are increasingly investing in freezers to store food, fearing such measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 could make it difficult to buy groceries.

While refrigerator sales in Shanghai started to show “obvious” growth in the fourth week of March, freezer orders recorded a two-fold increase in the past week compared to the same period last year, domestic outlet Jiemian reported Tuesday. Searches for terms such as “freezer” and “refrigerators” on social app WeChat have also surged sharply since April 7.

Chinese authorities have been swift in locking down cities to contain coronavirus outbreaks. Currently, several cities in the northeastern province of Jilin and about 25 million residents in Shanghai have been in lockdown for weeks.

In Shanghai, residents in the eastern half of the city scrambled to get groceries as the lockdown starting the following day was only announced late in the evening on March 27. Residents have complained of difficulties in securing supplies due to logistical challenges since the citywide shutdown on April 1.

Amid lockdowns or concerns over them, leading home appliance brands such as Midea and Haier both said they reported rising sales of refrigerators so far this year. Midea Group told Jiemian that they have sold 45% more refrigerators so far this month compared with the same period last year.

Outside Shanghai, residents in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen also bought more refrigerators, with industry data reporting a “dramatic” increase in sales volumes since late March.

China reported 27,920 infections for Tuesday. Shanghai and the northeastern province of Jilin logged the most cases, respectively, while other cities are also bracing for a surge in cases driven by the BA.2 Omicron sub-variant.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: Okan Metin/Getty Creative/VCG)