Chinese People Getting into Christmas Shopping Spirit
By Geng GuoqingEditor: Nancy Sun
Streets, shopping malls, supermarkets and stores in Xuchang, a city in central China's Henan Province, have displayed Christmas decorations and products, launching all kinds of sales promotions to take advantage of the festive season.
|Streets, shopping malls, supermarkets and stores in Xuchang, a city in central China's Henan Province, have displayed Christmas decorations and products. They have launched all kinds of sales promotions to take advantage of the festive season. [Henan Women's Federation/Geng Guoqing]
Previously, Christmas products produced in China were targeted only at the foreign market. However, Chinese people's increasing willingness to celebrate Christmas is making companies pay more attention to the domestic market.
"This year in particular has seen a strong Christmas atmosphere in China," said Hao Litong, a sales manager at King Tree Handicrafts Company, adding that Chinese buyers are interested in high-quality Christmas products.
According to her, the company's sales of Christmas products on the Chinese market increased 30 percent year-on-year to about 2 million yuan (US$321,000) in 2012.
"In previous years, they were only buying Christmas trees. But now you see that they buy more decorations for the trees. Christmas products are gradually being accepted by Chinese people," Hao said.
The company started targeting Chinese consumers seriously in 2010. Most of the trees it sells in China go to hotels and shopping malls that celebrate Christmas.
"So we bulk up on the designs, lights and decorations for these clients," Hao said.
"Many companies from Europe and the U.S., which are traditional target markets for us, have reduced their orders. Some have even given up buying Christmas products this year," said Hao.
Lin Wei, general manager of Shantou-based toymaker Big Tree Toys, says that demand from major markets in the U.S. and Europe has dropped significantly, but new demand from the domestic market and South American markets has increased.
"In the past, Chinese people thought that the significant periods to give gifts were Children's Day on June 1, the summer holidays and Spring Festival. But Christmas is also becoming widely celebrated at home. So we cannot miss out on the domestic market," Lin said.
"Christmas has become the most popular non-festival festive season in China," says Sang Weinan, marketing director of Yankee Candle's China office. "And Chinese people are eager to explore things that add to their quality of life."
According to Sang, the company sold candles and scents worth over 40 million yuan in 2012, a significant increase from about 10 million yuan (US$ 1,647,000) in the previous year.
Christmas is not widely celebrated in China, unlike in some other Asian countries like Japan, Singapore, or South Korea. But the Christmas atmosphere is beginning to be felt in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.
Many Chinese have even come up with their own Christmas traditions, such as giving apples to friends on Christmas Eve due to the similarity between the pronunciation for 'Christmas Eve' (ping an ye) and 'apple' (ping guo) in Chinese.
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