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2018 Chinese New Year Sales (7): Nanjing

With overall sales up by 8.17% over the 2018 Spring Festival period, the strategic use of promotions, streamlined check-out procedures and enhanced logistic resources proved a clear success for retailers throughout Nanjing.

Photo: Families celebrate Chinese New Year with a visit to a replica Confucius Temple.
Families celebrate Chinese New Year with a visit to a replica Confucius Temple.
Photo: Families celebrate Chinese New Year with a visit to a replica Confucius Temple.
Families celebrate Chinese New Year with a visit to a replica Confucius Temple.

Overall, figures from the Ministry of Commerce showed that from New Year’s Eve to the sixth day of the Chinese New Year (15-21 February) this year, the total takings of retail and catering enterprises across the mainland exceeded RMB926 billion, up 10.2% in comparison to the 2017 Spring Festival golden week period. The most in-demand items tended to be traditional New Year goods, organic foodstuffs, gold and silver ornaments, smart home appliances and new digital products. In terms of emerging trends, a notably higher percentage of New Year items and takeaway meals were ordered online, while mobile payments and customised travel bookings also became more commonplace.

In order to fully assess changing Spring Festival buying patterns, new retail trends and regional purchasing idiosyncrasies, the HKTDC’s mainland offices monitored the sales performance, promotional strategies and digital engagement of the leading retailers within their geographical remit. This has resulted in a unique snapshot of seasonal consumer / retailer behaviour in seven key markets across China – Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan.

Over this year’s Spring Festival period, the Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Commerce monitored the sales performance of around 100 of the city’s 100 major supermarkets, department stores, home appliance outlets and catering establishments. The subsequent findings indicated that the combined takings of all the businesses surveyed amounted to RMB1.34 billion, an 8.17% year-on-year rise.

In the case of the supermarkets, their focus was on providing a user-friendly shopping environment, with different retailers targetting different demographics. In a bid to minimise waiting times, many of the city’s supermarkets, including Suguo and Yonghui, increased the available number of self-checkout points, while also creating a dedicated display area for festive goods.

In another innovation, a number of supermarkets upgraded their fresh food departments with the addition of on-site preparation facilities. This allowed shoppers to enjoy their fresh produce and seafood purchases in-store or to partly prepare dishes that could be later eaten at home. In a third development, online ordering really came into its own this year, with several of the city’s more tech-savvy retailers – notably Super Species and RT-Mart – launching proprietary purchasing apps, while also offering home deliveries within a 3km radius of their stores.

In another sign of the surge in online ordering, all of the city’s key logistics service providers were kept busy with home deliveries throughout the holiday period. Overall, four companies – China Postal Express and Logistics (EMS), SF Express, Jingbangda (a subsidiary of JD.com) and Pinjun Express (the logistic arm of vipshop.com) – handled some 85% of all deliveries at both a local and a national level, according to statistics released by the State Post Bureau.

In the case of JD.com, it maintained its delivery service throughout the Spring Festival holiday period, with its network extending across 300 cities and covering more than 1,000 individual districts and counties. In terms of uninterrupted services, it continued to handle small and medium-sized parcels, bulk items, cold chain deliveries, B2B packages and cross-border e-commerce requirements

For 2018, same-day or next-day deliveries accounted for more than 70% of its throughput. Testifying to the company’s commitment in this regard, a member of HKTDC’s Nanjing Office confirmed that an order placed on New Year’s Eve arrived before lunchtime on the first day of the New Year.

In terms of the city’s three leading shopping centres, their 2018 highlights are listed below:

Venue Golden Eagle Xianlin World Nanjing Central Emporium Jiangning Wanda Plaza
Best-selling items (RMB)Clothing and accessories: 500-10,000Clothing and accessories: 500-5,000Clothing and accessories: 100-1,000
Footwear and headwear: 500-5,000Footwear and headwear: 500-2,000Footwear and headwear: 50-1,000
Baby and children’s products: 100-2,000Baby and children’s products: 100-2,000 
New additionsLumiere International Cineplex

Large children’s play area
HeyteaFestive goods fair
Sales growth30%25%19%
Average spend per customer (RMB)1,000500-800200-500
Promotional tactics1. Taiwan food festival.

2. Japanese food and household goods fair.

3. Spring Festival lucky bags.

4. Scan-to-pay service for home deliveries.
1. Festive goods market.

2. Rebates on purchase of big-ticket items, additional discounts for group purchase, and Spring Festival shopping coupons.

3. Festive bell ringing on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

4. WeChat Shake Spring Festival gala.
1. Yonghui Supermarket + WeChat Pay.

2. RMB20 off every purchase of RMB100 or more made via WeChat Pay.

3. Discounts of up to 31%.

4. When purchasing food and / or beverages, patrons could present their receipt at the cinema box office in order to buy an RMB19.9 discount cinema ticket (for use over the holiday period).
Promotional highlights
1. The opening of several famous restaurants attracted long queues on a daily basis and greatly increased the store’s overall footfall.

2. Launch of the Lumiere Cineplex in Section B scheduled to coincide with Spring Festival golden week.
1. Opening of Heytea, a well-known teashop brand.

2. Central Emporium Lawson opened 12 cashier-free outlets in the run-up to the Spring Festival.
1. A Spring Festival temple fair (similar to the one at the Confucius Temple) was held and featured celebrities selling popular traditional Chinese New Year goods and artists demonstrating folk art.

2. A ‘nijigen’ (young girls garden party) was held for junior consumers.

3. An Octonauts-themed children’s play area was introduced, enabling families to spend a whole day at the mall.

Nanjing Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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