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2013 Chinese New Year Sales: Xian

Photo: Rich Chinese New Year atmosphere in Xi’an markets. (Courtesy of Xinhua News Agency)
Rich Chinese New Year atmosphere in Xi’an markets. (Courtesy of Xinhua News Agency)
Photo: Rich Chinese New Year atmosphere in Xi’an markets. (Courtesy of Xinhua News Agency)
Rich Chinese New Year atmosphere in Xi’an markets. (Courtesy of Xinhua News Agency)

HKTDC's 11 mainland offices, namely in Beijing, Dalian, Qingdao, Xian, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Fuzhou and Shenzhen, conducted market surveys on high-end, mid-high end and mid-range shopping centres in their cities a week after the Chinese New Year to find out about their festival sales.

Xian recorded a total turnover of over Rmb9 billion during the Spring Festival holiday.

An atmosphere of jubilation and auspiciousness prevailed in the city of Xian during the Spring Festival of the Year of the Snake. Good weather encouraged people to go out to spend and visit relatives and friends and this spurred buying and selling in the market. On the whole, there were ample supplies of merchandise in the market and hot-selling items were obvious. Consumption patterns became more diversified and holiday spending was brisk. According to statistics, the city registered a turnover of Rmb9.27 billion in merchandise sales during the Spring Festival golden week, up 18.6% year-on-year. The following are the major characteristics:

1. Promotions fuelled sales at department stores

The Spring Festival holiday is a traditional peak shopping season. Led and guided by the city's commerce bureau, major commercial and trading enterprises in Xian seized this opportunity to organise all kinds of sales promotions for famous, premium, new and special products with discounts, lucky draws and other gimmicks to stimulate consumption. For example, Minsheng Department Store organised sales promotion on the theme of "positive energy for city life", Century Ginwa centred its activities on “celebrations for a prosperous year ahead", while Kaiyuan Shopping Mall promoted sales on the theme of love.

During the holiday, department stores like Kaiyuan, Minsheng, Century Ginwa, Golden Eagle and Parkson and leading supermarkets like CRC Vanguard and Renrenle recorded daily customer flow of over 60,000 persons. Heavy customer flow boosted steady growth in sales. For department stores, Wanda registered a year-on-year growth of 24.12% in sales, followed by Parkson (West Street) with 23.86%, Zhongda International with 19.49%, and Intime Mall with 15.93%. For supermarkets, Metro registered a year-on-year increase of 18.96% and CRC Vanguard achieved a year-on-year increase of 17.57% in sales.

2. Sales figures of hot-selling items looking good

Garment, jewellery and digital products were the hottest selling products while tobacco, wine, confectionery and tea, gift sets of nutritious products and cosmetics also saw substantial growth in sales. Among them, sales of products for ladies soared by 42.6% year-on-year while products for men registered an increase of 36.1%. Sales of leather goods also increased by 29.3%. Thanks to the coincidence of the Spring Festival and Valentine's Day, sales of jewellery shot up by more than 60% and sales of watches and accessories went up by 38.7%. L'Oréal, Shiseido, Oil of Ulay and other cosmetics brands also increased by 30%. Gift sets, green food and premium vegetables were popular at supermarkets. CRC Vanguard, Renrenle and other supermarkets all registered year-on-year increases of over 20% in the sales of wine and tobacco, confectionery, dried fruits, meats and drinks. Sales of telecommunications and digital products doubled year-on-year.

3. Small growth in food and beverage turnover

New year's eve dinners for families were in great demand, with attention to brand name, good service and diversity of grades as distinguishing features. Overall turnover was steadily rising. Statistics showed the catering industry reporting a turnover of about Rmb760 million during the week-long Spring Festival holiday, up 6.3% year-on-year. Amid the official frugality campaign, consumption at Xian's high-end restaurants dropped by about 40% year-on-year, with Xinhuafu Hotel reporting a 50.46% plunge in turnover and Grand Hong Kong Abalone and Sharkfin Restaurant reporting a decline of 29.59%. A survey of 10 leading catering enterprises in Xian showed 208,228 diners patronising these restaurants, representing a year-on-year decline of 3.04%, with business revenue falling by 3.8% year-on-year. During the golden week holiday, banquets characteristic of this time of the year, such as new year's eve dinners and reunion dinners, were in great demand. Instant food unique to Shaanxi was the new highlight of food consumption during the Spring Festival this year. Spending on takeaways showed an increase of over 30% year-on-year. At Xian Hotel, buckwheat and date steamed bread, bean flour buns, festival cakes and other snacks and special dishes sold in gift baskets and boxes were immensely popular. Noodles, Chinese pastries, glutinous rice wine, instant pita bread, frozen dumplings, preserved beef and mutton, soy sauce braised beef and other varieties of food with unique Shaanxi characteristics launched by the Joint Food Processing Plant of Xian Catering Co were sought-after items before the Spring Festival. Xian Tourism Group, Chuanyu Family, Fangxin Co and Qianjia Catering also supplied the market with their own varieties of factory-produced steamed cakes in bowls, soy sauce braised meats, noodles, instant banquet dishes, instant delicacies, and glutinous rice wine. Laosunjia Restaurant, Tongshengxiang Restaurant, Grand Hong Kong Abalone and Sharkfin Restaurant and other units made innovations in their services by organising cooking classes in more than 20 suburban residential areas, including Beijiao Baihua, Xingqing and Xinwei Xinjiayuan, and introducing their festival banquets and instant dishes to the local residents. Self-drive holidaymakers and visitors on short stays brought good business to farm restaurants and eateries selling local snacks thanks to the good weather during the holidays.

4. Temple fairs added to festive mood

Xian had lighting decorations at major squares, along the main roads and around landmark sculptures during the Spring Festival to project a festive mood. It also organised many temple fairs with distinct cultural characteristics to add to the Chinese New Year atmosphere, stimulate consumption, and enrich people's cultural life. Between 3 February and 11 March, major temples in Xian organised all kinds of competitions and exhibitions combining traditional folk culture with modern culture to celebrate the Spring Festival of the Year of the Snake. It was estimated that these temple fairs attracted close to 6 million visitors this year. The 2013 Spring Festival lantern show and traditional temple fair organised by Tang Paradise presented a wide range of traditional folk culture activities on the lantern theme and recreated the streets of Tang Dynasty with eateries, shops and entertainment. This Spring Festival tourism event complete with folk performances such as dances and acrobatics and special local snacks allowed visitors to experience what it was like to celebrate the Chinese New Year in the old days. The 2013 Small Wild Goose Pagoda well-wishing temple fair celebrated the Year of the Snake with activities like hanging wishing knots, writing auspicious words on the blessing wall, lighting wishing lamps, tying true love plaques on the tree and knocking the wishing bell. Xian Qinling Wild-life Zoo hosted the 2013 Spring Festival garden party on the theme of the fairytale world with activities including a tug-of-war between men and tigers, a bears' show and an animal parade. Xian Museum celebrated the Spring Festival with a lantern and food fair, Qujiang Ocean World hosted the “I'm Here” polar animals show. The Daming Palace National Heritage Park organised a Tang-style fun fair, Xingqing Palace staged Spring Festival cultural shows; an exhibition of interesting cultural relics was staged at the Xian City Wall; and Guangren Temple lighted hundreds of thousands of wishing lamps. These temple fairs and garden parties highlighted Xian's rich traditional culture.

5. Brisk market of cultural, sports and recreation activities

Apart from traditional holiday consumption hot spots, outdoor sports such as skiing and ice skating were also popular. Flower markets were doing good business as a reflection of modern lifestyle. Recreational venues were all packed as people now attach greater importance to fitness and leisure. During the holidays, more people were buying and reading books. Diversity of vacation activities became a new distinctive feature of Spring Festival consumption and opened up new prospects for business in Xian.

On the whole, there was ample market supply in Xian during the 2013 Spring Festival. Consumption hot spots were conspicuous and there were many ways for people to spend their money. Buying and selling was brisk, showing great vitality of holiday consumption.

HKTDC Xian Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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