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2015 Chinese New Year Sales: Chongqing

According to the Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce, the total retail sales in its major commercial districts and key commercial enterprises during the Spring Festival grew by 12.4% year-on-year, reaching a total of Rmb6.64 billion.

Photo: A Sichuan opera face-changing performance during a Spring Festival cultural show in Chongqing
A Sichuan opera face-changing performance during a Spring Festival cultural show in Chongqing.
Photo: A Sichuan opera face-changing performance during a Spring Festival cultural show in Chongqing
A Sichuan opera face-changing performance during a Spring Festival cultural show in Chongqing.

Figures from the Ministry of Commerce show that, from New Year’s Eve to the sixth day of the Chinese New Year, the total sales of retail and catering enterprises nationwide amounted to Rmb678 billion, up 11% over the Spring Festival golden week last year. At the same time, year-on-year growth dropped 2.3 percentage points. HKTDC's mainland offices in Beijing, Dalian, Qingdao, Xi'an, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Chongqing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Fuzhou and Shenzhen, made market visits to a number of high-end, mid-high end and mid-range shopping centres in their respective cities a week after the Chinese New Year (19-25 February 2015) in order to establish just how holiday sales fared this year.

During the 2015 Spring Festival holiday, Chongqing’s commercial and trading enterprises, including its commercial complexes, shopping centres and retail markets, organised a variety of sales promotions, all with a focus on creating a safe consumption environment and protecting consumers’ rights. Overall, the festive atmosphere was seen as providing a considerable boost to consumer’s inclination to spend. Accordingly, levels of both supply and demand proved buoyant in the Chongqing market.

Large home appliances, digital products, “3C” small home appliances, family sedans as well as New Year goods were 2015’s best-selling items. While most small businesses, such as roadside stores, were closed during the Spring Festival, a number of the larger shopping centres, malls and supermarkets were open for business as usual in order to capitalise on this peak sales period. The department stores in a number of commercial districts also ran their own promotional initiatives, including shopping festivals, New Year goods festivals, fruit festivals, lantern festivals and temple festivals.

Food and New Year products, clothing and shoes, gold and jewellery, as well as cosmetics accounted for the largest share of sales in the traditional consumer market this year, with the food category enjoying a growth in excess of 10%. Sales of electronic products such as handsets, tablets and digital cameras were also robust, with demand for handsets growing by nearly 30%. In terms of the catering market, however, high-end hotels, upscale food retailers and high-class liquor vendors all reported lacklustre sales. Significantly, competitively-priced, mass-market dining, targeting families and businesses, prospered by comparison.  

Across the board, e-commerce operators and the WeChat marketing platform continued to take market share from conventional retailers.

Overall, consumer spending in Chongqing clearly increased during the Spring Festival, demonstrating a decided year-on-year growth. Sales of high-end gifts, jewellery and liquors were, however, negatively affected by the central government’s ongoing austerity programme.

The following is summary of the sales situation and the e-commerce strategy of three leading Chongqing stores:

StoreMetropolitan Oriental PlazaLongfor North Paradise WalkNew Century Department Store
GradeHigh-endMid-rangeMid-low end
Top-selling ItemsClothing, cosmetics, jewellery, clocks and watchesClothing, shoes and bags, food and beverages, cosmetics and jewelleryClothing, food, shoes and bags, home textiles, home appliances, baby products, cosmetics, toys and jewellery
Price Range (Rmb)Clothing: 2,000 -15,000 Shoes and bags: 2,000 - 20,000 Watches: 5,000 -50,000 Cosmetics: 1,000 -3,000 Jewellery: 5,000 -80,000Clothing: 800 - 5,000 Shoes and bags: 1,000 -5,000 Catering: 200 - 4,000 Cosmetics: 500 - 3,000 Jewellery: 3,000 - 20,000Food: 10 - 500 Clothing: 200 -2,000 Shoes and bags: 300 -3,000 Cosmetics: 200 - 2,000 Jewellery: 1,000 - 6,000
Average Spend per Customer (Rmb)3,0001,500800
Promotional TacticsLucky draw for purchases of specified amountFree voucher card and DIY gift packs for shopping card top-up“Buy Rmb100 Get Rmb20 Free” “Buy Rmb100 Get Rmb30 Free”
E-commerce StrategyThe challenge posed by e-commerce operators has prompted traditional retailers to differentiate themselves by adjusting their business-format mix and introduce more private labels and exclusive brands.Longfor North Paradise Walk partnered with UnionPay to organise the first “north city UnionPay shopping festival” on 11-16 November 2014. The promotion is said to have offered Rmb3 million in shopping rebates to consumers across the city. Customers who followed the store’s WeChat official account and bought coupons with UnionPay could redeem them at physical stores under the O2O model. Big data relating to individual stores, customer flows, apps and the new media were analysed to produce useful leads to further enhance shopping convenience.Launched by the Chongqing General Trading Group, shopping website Shijigou (www.sjgo365.com) runs under the O2O model. The website began operation at Chongqing’s bonded products display and sale centre on 18 October 2014. The centre offers tens of thousands of bonded import goods, including fashion, shoes and bags from premier brands like Gucci, Prada and Burberry. This new business model brings together the online and in-store shopping experiences.

Michael Bai, Chongqing Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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