a flash sale, if you will-for the limited-edition cups. Consumers would wait in front of their com

puters for long hours just to click “buy” several times in quick succession over a period of four days to March 3.

Only, millions of their ilk would also do the same thing at the same time. This meant, most of their attempts were destined to prove unsu

ccessful as buyers vastly outnumbered the special cups on sale. The cat-cups were sold out in nanoseconds after the sale opened.

Disappointed consumers accused Starbucks of resorting to “hunger market

ing”, a strategy to drive up demand by deliberately limiting supply, a charge that the cafe chain denied.

The Starbucks cup episode is the latest proof that pets, particularly cats, are stoking big-ticket

spending among affluent consumers in China, an economy that is witnessing consumption upgrade acr

oss all sectors-a topic close to the hearts of the Chinese lawmakers and political advisers who attended the annu

al sessions of the country’ top legislature and top political advisory body this month.

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