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2017 Chinese New Year Sales: Qingdao

Qingdao’s 10 leading retail businesses netted RMB530 million in sales during the Spring Festival Golden Week, an increase of 4% year-on-year. In the case of six of the city’s catering enterprises, their collective turnover was RMB74.69 million, up 3.7% year-on-year.

Photo: Enlightened retail thinking: Lantern Festival celebrations in Qingdao.(Xinhua News Agency)
Enlightened retail thinking: Lantern Festival celebrations in Qingdao.
Photo: Enlightened retail thinking: Lantern Festival celebrations in Qingdao.(Xinhua News Agency)
Enlightened retail thinking: Lantern Festival celebrations in Qingdao.

Overall, figures from the Ministry of Commerce showed that, from New Year's Eve to the sixth day of the Chinese New Year (27 January-2 February 2017), the total takings of retail and catering enterprises across the mainland exceeded RMB840 billion, up 11.4% over the same period last year. Traditional New Year goods, eco-friendly food, seasonal clothing, gold and silver ornaments, smart energy-saving home appliances and several new digital products were among the best-selling items for 2017.

As part of the survey, staff at the HKTDC's mainland offices - Beijing, Dalian, Qingdao, Xi’an, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Chongqing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Fuzhou and Shenzhen - selected a number of representative local shopping centres and monitored their performance before, during and after the Chinese New Year sales period in order to ascertain just how their respective local consumer markets fared this year.

In line with this, HKTDC’s Qingdao Office interviewed staff at a range of local shopping centres with regard to their experiences over the 2017 Spring Festival period. A summary of their findings can be found below.

According to official figures, as of the end of 2016, Qingdao was home to 517,000 retail outlets, with at least 20 major commercial centres scheduled to open in 2017. Overall, over the most recent Spring Festival period, the majority of outlets recorded substantial year-on-year growth. This was seen as down to a combination of a moderate return of consumer confidence and the efforts made by many retailers to meet changing market preferences.

Spring Festival 2017: Retail Highlights

1. In many supermarkets and shopping malls, catering has become a new driver of footfall, with considerable knock-on benefits for the core business of such outlets and their overall sales performance. In many newly-opened shopping centres, catering and amusement areas accounted for almost one-third of the overall floor space, rising to as high as 50% in some retail centres.

2. The launch of the Qingdao Metro has had a notable impact on many of the city’s retailers. Most obviously, those shopping centres with direct access to the Metro, such as MIXC and CapitaMall, have benefitted from additional customer numbers.

3. Entertainment facilities are now deemed to be core elements of any new retail development. They are valued both for attracting customers and for extending dwell-time, two factors that ultimately convert into higher sales.

E-commerce and Takeaway Deliveries

The majority of the domestic courier companies – with the exception of SF Express – stopped taking orders and making deliveries on or around 20 January, only resuming business after the end of the Spring Festival holiday period. Obviously, this seriously reduced the level of online orders over the festive period.

In the case of the catering sector, however, it was more or less business as usual, with online orders accepted via mobile apps, WeChat and a number of e-commerce platforms, including Meituan Waimai (“take away”). Many of these operators offered semi-prepared traditional Qingdao New Year’s dinner gift sets, with the majority of these available for door-to-door delivery, even on New Year’s Day – a development that proved popular with many consumers.

Spring Festival Bestsellers

According to statistics from the local authorities, consumer demand remained diverse across the festive period, although there was a notable focus on the following products and services:

1. Communications devices and photography equipment remained particularly popular. Mobile phones, digital cameras, tablet PCs, SLR cameras and similar items have remained a regular fixture on seasonal shopping lists for several years now. In particular, the more stylish smartphones and those with advanced features sold particularly well, with many such items being purchased as gifts. As a consequence, the sector overall recorded year-on-year-growth of 12.3%.

2. Demand was also high for gold and silver ornaments, with sales in these categories rising by 5.9% year on year. Largely on account of the promotional activities organised by retailers, weddings were the main driver of gold and silver ornament sales over the Spring Festival period. Unsurprisingly, ornaments with a rooster motif theme were also widely sought out.

3. Demand for food was also notably up this year. Festival gift sets, local specialties, delicately packaged seasonal fruits and organic health foods – including eggs, fruits and vegetables - were the most popular products, driving sales in the sector up by 5.3% year-on-year.

4. In terms of dining out, a number of special package deals – including traditional New Year's Eve dinners, reunion dinners and group banquets – were particularly popular, with the level of advance bookings tellingly described as “phenomenal”.

Tourism Triumph

According to figures from Qingdao’s Tourism Development Committee, the city welcomed more than two million visitors over the Spring Festival period, a 13.96% year-on-year increase. In line with this, overall tourism receipts also surged – reaching RMB2.823 billion, an increase of 16.65% year-on-year. The average per capita tourist spend over the holiday period was also up, totalling RMB1,450.8 this year, an increase of RMB238 over the 2016 figures.

The city was also the source of a substantial number of outbound tourists over the Spring Festival period. Overall, the number of outbound tourists rose by 20% year-on-year, with cruises proving a particularly popular option. There was also a substantial rise in the number of Qingdao residents taking trips to Europe or the United States.

Sales Report on the City’s Three Major Shopping Centres

Shopping centre

Hisense Plaza

Liqun Group Hisense Plaza






Best-selling items

Clothing, children's products, household products

Gift sets of meat, fruits and vegetables; alcohol; jewellery

Ornaments and gifts

Price range (RMB)

Shopping centre: 500-50,000

Supermarket: 10-3,000;

Shopping centre: 100-10,000

Shopping centre: 100-10,000

Average spend per customer (RMB)




Year-on-year sales growth

Slight increase

Double-digit growth


Promotional tactics

(1) Maintained normal business hours, except for New Year's Eve

(2) Offered substantial discounts, gifts upon spending of specified amount or above, lucky draw chances to win a car with spending of RMB1,000 or above

(3) Selected caterers offered New Year’s Eve dinner service

Themed activity: New Year Goods Collection at Liqun

Extended business hours, along with discount promotions

Sales highlights

(1) Young fashion products and light luxury products were popular

(2) High quality household products were well received

(3) Sales revenue of catering sector increased

(1) Sales growth in all categories

(2) Largest increase in supermarkets - 22%

(3) Clothing grew 5%

(4) Cosmetics and jewellery sales dropped slightly

(5) Home appliance sales showed moderate growth

(1) Gold, silver and jewellery sales rose 10%

(2) Clothing sales dropped slightly

Online sales

Not available

Growth in online sales compared to last year

No data available


Success Story: Jinding Plaza (Liqun Group)

The Liqun Group, one of the major commercial players in Qingdao, runs more than 20 shopping malls and large supermarkets in the city and its immediate environs. The group launched its flagship store in the Jinding Plaza at the end of 2016 and adopted the currently popular shopping centre plus catering / entertainment facilities model.

 Located in the heart of the Laoshan commercial district, the Jinding Plaza store comprises 100,000 square metres of commercial space and is home to supermarkets, department stores, home appliance retailers and cinemas, as well as several catering and entertainment establishments. In addition to its prime location, it focuses on customer experience as its core means of attracting shoppers and driving sales.

In total, more than 1,600 parking spaces are available for shoppers, while the Plaza also features an array of catering options, offering a wide choice in order to appeal to a broad selection of consumer preferences. It also features more than 3,000 square metres of children's play areas, with amusement, early education and retail opportunities all available under the same roof, with the complex claiming to offer the largest child-friendly entertainment resource in the city. Its full range of entertainment/cultural services is completed by its RMB200 million state-of-the art cinema facility and its well-stocked Xinhua Bookstore.

Throughout the Spring Festival period, Jinding Plaza offered extended business hours, staying open far longer than the group’s other shopping centres in order to boost sales by allowing consumers to take full advantage of its integrated business format.

Overall, the launch of Jinding Plaza is seen as not only having improved Liqun’s overall turnover, but also as having marked the group’s transformation from a traditional department store into a more contemporary retail outlet, complete with a wide variety of cultural / entertainment facilities.

Qingdao Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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