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2017 Chinese New Year Sales: Shanghai

Retail sales in Shanghai showed a 10.6% year-on-year increase during the 2017 Chinese New Year period (20 January to 2 February). The figure emerged from a survey of 420 large and medium-sized retail businesses in the city, with the research jointly conducted by Shanghai’s commerce authorities and key commercial enterprises from several different districts.

Photo: Rooster booster: New Year’s sales surge in Shanghai’s Yuyuan Gardens. (Shutterstock, Inc/Alla Khananashvili)
Rooster booster: New Year’s sales surge in Shanghai’s Yuyuan Gardens.
Photo: Rooster booster: New Year’s sales surge in Shanghai’s Yuyuan Gardens. (Shutterstock, Inc/Alla Khananashvili)
Rooster booster: New Year’s sales surge in Shanghai’s Yuyuan Gardens.

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 the case of Shanghai, its consumer spending pattern over the Spring Festival period was notable for a number of reasons:

1. Steady Sales Growth

Overall, throughout the Chinese New Year period, Shanghai’s consumer market enjoyed steady sales growth, partly prompted by a flurry of promotional activities. In total, retail sales in the city for the period 20 January to 2 February were up 10.6% year-on-year. The figure emerged from a survey of 420 large and medium-sized retail businesses in the city, with the research jointly conducted by Shanghai’s commerce authorities and key commercial enterprises from several different districts.

With specific regard to 10 of the businesses that participated in the survey Global Harbor, Bailian Binjiang Shopping Mall, Bailian New Era Mall, Jinqiao International Commercial Plaza, Zhengda Plaza and the Cloud Nine Shopping Mall – they collectively posted a sales revenue of RMB301 million over the target period, a 7.8% year-on-year increase. Several of the city’s key commercial districts including Nanjing East Road, Nanjing West Road, Zhongshan Park and Wujiaochang, also enjoyed clear year-on-year sales growth.

Monitoring data provided by the Anhui Province Bureau of Commerce, meanwhile, showed that, as of 2 February, the cumulative sales of 69 key provincial level circulation enterprises totalled Rmb2.09 billion, a 15.5% year-on-year rise.

2. Mass-market Dining

With regard to New Year’s Eve eat-in dinners, the total revenue of the city’s key catering enterprises grew 11.4% year-on-year. A number of ingredients and delicacies seen as necessary for creating a distinct Shanghai flavour were particularly in demand, most notably Rice cakes, Babao rice, prepared food, preserved and cured meat, as well as dried fruits and seafood.

With only around 10% of restaurants open for business during the Spring Festival period, business was understandably booming among the few that actually traded. Among the 20,000 restaurants that were open, average daily takings were said to be up by nearly 30% compared to a typical day’s trading.

3. Increased Diversification

This year, there were signs that holiday spending has become increasingly diversified. In addition to movie-going and taking short excursions, cultural, leisure and entertainment services, as well as parent-child bonding activities all featured high on the to-do lists of many Shanghai residents over the holiday period.

In total, over the period in question, among those surveyed companies in the entertainment and fitness sectors, there was an average 15% year-on-year increase in revenue. Particularly popular this year were KTV facilities family fun amenities, socialising in bars and escape-room style games. Perhaps unsurprisingly, KTV retained its rank as the number one activity among family and friends, with each such session costing around RMB300, according to figures from Aliplay.

4. Best-selling Items

Over the festive period, many traditional New Year items, such as food, cigarettes, liquor and clothing, showed an expected upturn in sales. At the same time, a number of high-end products, including, gold and jewellery items, also proved particularly popular. Despite the price of gold and “999 gold” remaining relatively stable at around RMB344 per gram, sales in the sector rose by almost 30% over the holiday period. Particularly in demand were gold items themed in line with the incoming Year of the Rooster.

In other developments, imported seafood was particularly in demand throughout Shanghai over the New Year, a growth trend that has now been sustained over three consecutive years. Taken together, the transaction volume of Shanghai’s eight aquatic products wholesale markets and the Longmen Food Company totalled 31,562 tons, an increase of 9,808 tons over the 2016 Spring Festival period.

5. Top Three Best-selling Items Online

Previously an occasion where e-commerce operators failed to shine, this year’s Spring Festival saw a number of such companies come to the fore. This change was driven by many of the online trading platforms actively seeking to tailor their services to the needs of consumers over the festive period.

In line with this, many offered door-to-door delivery of New Year’s goods, announced their own “online New Year’s goods festivals” or remained in operation throughout the holiday period. The success of these initiatives was reflected by recent figures from the State Post Bureau. These showed that 13.75 million express delivery items were processed between 27 January and 2 February, a 19.86% increase  over the same period last year.

Similarly upbeat findings came courtesy of JD.com, with the online trading giant seeing a surge of orders over the New Year period. In fact, according to the company, its daily number of unique users, its number of orders, the overall amount spent, and the total purchase of New Year-related goods were all double that of last year.

For the country as a whole, the cities boasting the largest number of JD.com waybills over the Spring Festival period were Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In terms of spending, the three biggest-earning items were liquor, seafood/meat and fruit, while in terms of total number of purchases, nuts/fried food, beverages, and snacks topped the list. In percentage terms, however, snacks (31%), nuts/fried food (22%) and white spirits (13%) proved the most popular items over all.

Shanghai Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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