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2016 Chinese New Year Sales: Hangzhou

Overall, Spring Festival consumption in Hangzhou remained more or less steady this year, although slightly down.  According to the official figures, the combined sales of the city’s shopping malls, restaurants and other entertainment establishments throughout the 2016 CNY period was Rmb5.42 billion, down 4.4% year-on-year.

Photo: Swarming with people: West Lake Scenic Area. (Xinhua News Agency)
Swarming with people: West Lake Scenic Area
Photo: Swarming with people: West Lake Scenic Area. (Xinhua News Agency)
Swarming with people: West Lake Scenic Area

Figures from the Ministry of Commerce show that, from New Year's Eve to the sixth day of the Chinese New Year (7-13 February 2016), the total takings of retail and catering enterprises nationwide was more than Rmb754 billion, up 11.2% over the Spring Festival golden week last year. While a number of new sectors achieved impressive results, traditional New Year’s goods; mass market dining; cultural, sporting and entertainment activities; tourism and leisure activities also fared well throughout the festive spending period.

Staff at the HKTDC's mainland offices (Beijing, Dalian, Qingdao, Xi’an, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Chongqing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Fuzhou and Shenzhen) made visits to a number of high-end, mid-high end and mid-range shopping centres in their respective cities before, during and after the Chinese New Year in order to ascertain just how the consumer market performed this year.

The following is an overview of Spring Festival consumption in Hangzhou:

1. Overall Situation

Spring Festival consumption in Hangzhou remained steady this year, showing only a small decline.  According to official statistics, the combined total sales of the city’s 48 leading businesses - including shopping malls, supermarkets, home appliances and telecom stores, restaurants, tea houses, pubs, karaoke bars and cinemas – was recorded as Rmb5.42 billion during the festival period (5-11 February), down 4.4% from the same period last year.

The overall sales of many department stores dropped. This may be partly because several large shopping centres in Hangzhou extended their holiday break while shortening their business hours throughout this year’s Spring Festival period. In the case of the Intime Group, for example, all of its retail outlets took a two-day break last year - on New Year's Eve and New Year’s Day. This year, this increased to 2.5 days, when the break was extended to include the morning period of the second day of the New Year. Hangzhou Tower Shopping Center, Hangzhou Department Store and Jiebai Plaza also all cut their business hours. The combined data from the 11 shopping malls shows that cumulative sales during the Spring Festival were Rmb305 million, down 7.4% compared to last year.

2. Promotional Tactics

During the 2016 Spring Festival, retail outlets in downtown Hangzhou carried out promotional sales activity under a New Year’s theme. The Chinese New Year sale and price discount on branded products promotions of Hangzhou Tower, together with the New Year shopping week promotion conducted by Jiebei Plaza helped stimulated sales of clothing, cosmetics, jewellery and household appliances. Similar New Year-themed promotions by the Intime Group added buoyancy to the consumer market, while those of the Jiebai Plaza, Lixing Plaza and Yizhijia Sale Shop added to the prosperous feel of the festival sales.

3. Major Characteristics of Consumption

Traditional retail was not of the scale of the previous year. With consumption peaking well before the holiday, the malls were quiet during the Spring Festival period. This is partly due to both the shopping malls putting additional effort into pre-holiday promotional sales and an overall change in business philosophy, something that saw many outlets opt to close for longer holidays or to shorten their business hours during the festive period. It is clear, then, that the market is evolving, with consumers changing their behaviour and business operators adapting accordingly.

According to official figures, the Spring Festival sales of Hangzhou department stores have been a relatively low level. This year proved no exception, with Spring Festival consumption peaking before the holiday. On the day before New Year’s Eve (6 February), sales at the seven shopping centres and 11 supermarkets being surveyed totalled Rmb679.5 million and Rmb27.01 million respectively. Overall, these were 3.7 times and 2.9 times the daily averages of the period from the New Year's Eve to the fourth day of the New Year respectively.

The daily necessities category was still the top consumer choice during the 2016 Spring Festival, while various types of snack foods, health care products, tobacco and alcohol still dominating the market. In addition, the changing approach to gift-giving and the growth in personal consumption saw increased sales of Apple communication equipment and of gold merchandise.

Shirley Pan, Hangzhou Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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