67% Chinese consumers buy festive foods during festivals

As the Lantern Festival approaches, the first major traditional festival after Chinese New Year, new research from Mintel showed that food is the biggest spending focus for Chinese consumers during traditional Chinese festivals, with 67% of urban Chinese consumers buying festive foods during festivals, followed by 65% choosing in-home food.

Consumers love festivals as they create opportunities for interaction with others. Over six in 10 (61%) Chinese consumers say that catering for the festival tradition is the key factor encouraging them to buy products during festivals compared to other times of the year. For over half (52%), the key factor is gifting.

“A major emphasis of traditional festival shopping is food and fun. 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. All 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,” said Matthew Crabbe, regional trends director at Mintel.

A significant part of the festival experience for consumers is the opportunity to travel. The research said that 35% of urban consumers plan to spend more on domestic travel (41% about the same), and 27% plan to spend more on overseas travel (38% about the same). Mintel forecasts that the growth in holiday expenditure around traditional Chinese and Western festivals will increase by 16% CAGR between 2015 and 2020.

“Travel spending is also internationalising China’s festival shopping influence. Shopping and holiday/leisure and entertainment spending combined add special significance to the motives for consumers to spend money during festival times,” Crabbe added.

Apart from traditional festival shopping, urban consumers are also welcoming online shopping festivals. When it comes to future online shopping festival spending intentions, it is apparent that most consumers expect to spend more on most types of products and services in the coming 12 months. Nearly six in 10 (57%) of those surveyed would love to buy more fashion, footwear and accessories, followed by in-home food (47%) and eating out (42%) during the next online shopping festivals.

“Improving the shopping experience during online shopping festivals, and making such festivals more about the mixture of retail and entertainment, could be an opportunity for retailers and brands to win these consumers over,” Crabbe concluded.