SHANGHAI: Food, especially festive specialities such as zongzi or mooncake, is the top driver for Chinese consumer spending during traditional Chinese holidays, a new survey has revealed.

According to research firm Mintel, around two-thirds (67%) of urban Chinese consumers say they buy festive food during festivals, while 65% like to shop for food to be eaten at home and 61% spend more on eating out.

In addition, some 61% of urban Chinese consumers say that catering for the festival tradition is the key factor that encourages them to buy products during festivals compared to other times of the year. Gifting is a key factor for another half (52%).

“Festivals offer a unique opportunity for retailers and brands to conjure up some magic by creating fun and entertaining ways for consumers to celebrate festivals, give gifts, treat themselves and share good times with friends and family,” said Matthew Crabbe, Mintel’s Kuala Lumpur-based Regional Trends Director.

“All [that] retailers need to achieve this is solid knowledge about the lifestyles and ‘retailtainment’ (mixture of retail and entertainment) interests of their customers, and the imagination to come up with interesting new ideas,” he added.

Based on responses from 3,000 internet users aged 20 to 49 in tier-1 to tier-3 cities in October last year, the survey also noted other popular purchases made during Chinese New Year and other traditional Chinese festivals.

These include fashion, footwear and accessories (56%), in-home soft drinks like Coca-Cola (54%), in-home alcoholic drinks (52%), domestic travel (38%), electronics and appliances (28%), jewellery (26%), toys and games (22%), furnishings (22%) and overseas travel (16%).

Looking at travel spending in more detail, the Mintel research found that 35% of Chinese consumers plan to spend more on domestic travel, while 27% intend to spend more on travelling overseas.

It forecast that holiday expenditure around traditional Chinese and Western festivals will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16% between 2015 and 2020.

“Our research shows that holiday spending is one of the stronger growth areas within today’s consumer economy,” Crabbe continued.

“Shopping and holiday/leisure and entertainment spending combined add special significance to the motives for consumers to spend money during festival times.”

Sourced from Mintel; additional content by WARC staff