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2017 Chinese New Year Sales: Xi’an

During the 2017 Spring Festival golden week, Xi’an residents spent extravagantly on traditional New Year’s goods, eating out, and a variety of leisure and cultural activities, resulting in total retail sales of around RMB14.7 billion. One of the particular beneficiaries was the city’s catering sector, which recorded a sales revenue of  RMB1.15 billion - a 14.3% rise over the same period last year.

Photo: Spring Festival Lantern Show at Tang Paradise, Xi’an.(Xinhua News Agency)
Spring Festival Lantern Show at Tang Paradise, Xi’an.
Photo: Spring Festival Lantern Show at Tang Paradise, Xi’an.(Xinhua News Agency)
Spring Festival Lantern Show at Tang Paradise, Xi’an.

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 Xi’an, Spring Festival spending tended to vary in line with the different positioning / targetting of a number of the city’s shopping malls and department stores.

Growth in Department Store Sales

Throughout the Spring Festival period, business was brisk and the aisles were packed at many of the city’s leading shopping malls (including Kaiyuan, Minsun, Wanda, New World, Century Ginwa, Golden Eagle and Parkson), as well as at its larger supermarkets (including CR Vanguard and RenRenLe). Overall, sales were up a massive 90.14% year-on-year at Minsun Department Stores, 22.95% at Golden Eagle International and 21.60% at Lotus Supermarket.

In the run-up to the Spring Festival, the commercial authorities worked closely with many local retail operators to ensure an adequate supply of vegetables and other foodstuffs was available at a reasonable price. The success of this policy saw some 357,000 tons of 100 different varieties of vegetables stocked in shops throughout the city, as well as 147,000 tons of 40 different varieties of fruit. On top of that, provisions were made for the supply of 30,800 tons of pork and port products, as well as 94,900 tons of rice, noodles, oil and other cereals.

Success on a Plate

Over the holiday period, New Year’s Eve dinners and family banquets were especially well-subscribed, with demand particularly strong for specialty cuisine, while those restaurants known to provide a high standard of service seldom went empty. With many restaurants now targetting distinct niches and having developed an increasingly customer-centric approach, the majority of such establishments reaped apt rewards in terms of increased turnover.

In fact, over the course of the Spring Festival golden week, Xi’an’s catering sector recorded a turnover of around RMB1.15 billion, a 14.3% year-on-year increase. Throughout the holiday period, dining out with friends and relatives remained hugely popular, with many people attending New Year’s Eve dinners, reunion banquets or themed celebration banquets. As a sign of the health of the sector, The Tang Dynasty – a local theatre-cum-restaurant  – recorded sales growth of 44.42% year-on-year, while the Common People Kitchen (Baixing Chufang) announced a 14.5% upturn in revenue compared to the same period in 2016.

This year, mass market dining and specialty snacks were the catering sector’s big success stories. In line with this, throughout the Spring Festival period, daily customer footfall in Yongxing Square, one of the city’s most popular eating out destinations, was said to be in excess of 50,000, while the nearby Muslim Quarter was similarly packed with diners and revellers. Overall, huge numbers of locals and out-of-town visitors were tempted to try many of the city’s local delicacies - soup dumplings, roast beef/mutton and persimmon pies.

Temple Fairs

Throughout the holiday period, a number of traditional temple fairs added to the New Year feel, putting many consumers in the mood for a little seasonal spending. Between 28 January and 11 February, the party atmosphere was added to by displays of many of the region’s traditional sports and other local customs, as well as by several events that showcased more contemporary cultural pastimes.

Among the highpoints of these celebratory events was a cultural temple fair set by the banks of Lake Hancheng, which featured performances of Shaanxi opera, traditional spring pastimes and  a paper lantern festival. The Qujiang Cold Kiln Ruins Park, meanwhile, played host to a spring craft and art show, including displays of traditional paper cutting, clay sculptures and a shadow puppet performance.

In Xi’an, as in many other parts of China, the higher levels of disposable income enjoyed by many residents has led to increased spending on cultural pastimes, sports and leisure activities. This, in turn, has proved a huge boost for amusement parks, bookstores, cinemas and hot springs.  Similarly, these changed spending patterns have proved a boon for outdoor sports - notably skiing - flower markets and a variety of other leisure lifestyle options. Inevitably, then, during the extended holiday period, many of these new leisure and cultural sectors benefitted hugely from the changed spending priorities of many consumers.

Xi’an Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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