Make me your Homepage
left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Chinese retailers cash in on seasonal spending

Updated: 2013-12-24 16:56

Christmas may not be a traditional time for celebrations in China, but that doesn't get in the way of its commercial opportunity. With many young people there looking to let off steam - and shopping the main therapy - Christmas is increasingly big business for retailers in China.


Like many Western traditions, Christmas is catching on in China.But they do it a little differently. You're more likely to see a saxophone or guitar-playing Santa, than a classic nativity display. For a generation of Chinese under increasingly high pressure, it's a chance to have fun. And an excuse to spend.

"Christmas in China is less about the birth of Jesus and more about the presents. The main form of celebration is shopping and for retailers here, this is boom time. But it's also the start of a much bigger spending season... Leading up to Chinese New Year," CCTV correspondent Grace Brown said.

"A lot of our stores have opened this year because we're a brand new mall and so our sales from November to December increased 30 percent. We do try to bring the Christmas ambiance to our mall and we are seeing an increase in traffic. People are coming to spend time here, and a lot of it is coming to look at our decorations, like this snowglobe that you see behind me so this is a unique experience. Chinese consumers may just be learning about Christmas, but we feel the way the local market does absorb new ideas quickly, it’s been very successful for us," said Leo Hwang, executive director of Parkview Green.

Analysts say retailers are spurring on festivals, to get shoppers in the mood.

"In the economic slowdown trend, the retailers and manufacturers in China are pushing really hard to create the shopping occasion or the excuse for the consumers to shop, or consume or to celebrate different festivals, like the 'Double Eleven,' that really created a lot of excitement for consumers to shop online. China has become more and more open to Western cultures, especially the young generation, they are educated, so it's really a big occasion to create the excuse to release the pressure of work and study," said Ryan Zhou, Director of China Client Service Retail Measurement, Nielsen.

Gifts in China are also more varied.

"If we name one or two, chocolate and candy are definitely on the top of the consumption peak for the Christmas season. Another category that is really booming is dairy. More and more consumers have the concern for health. So dairy, especially premium dairy, is treated as a gift, to their families, to their friends, to their kids," Ryan Zhou said.

And also with China's leaders rolling out new measures to boost consumption, seasonal shopping sprees are likely to grow.