Christmas may not be an indigenous holiday to China — but retailers had a VERY merry one this year. Merry enough to merit dubbing Christmas the third largest consumer shopping season in China.
Here’s the story published in Sohu (partially translated by yours truly):
Christmas Day is not an official holiday in China. Yet this didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for consumer spending in the least. According to online surveys conducted in Shanghai, among young people aged 14 to 30, 70 percent will choose to dine and enjoy themselves lavishly on Christmas, and 88 percent of lovers will choose to go to a Western-style restaurant to eat out.
Smart business owners, from hotels to small Western-style restaurants, cannot give up this grand opportunity. They should use any means possible to create a Christmas atmosphere and come up with a menu or program that encapsulates the season.
The Four Seasons Hotel, located in the center of Shanghai on Huaihai Road, held a special Christmas buffet where each person paid 1,700 RMB [Jocelyn: a little over $200], an increase of 15 percent over the previous year. That price is seven to eight times higher than what one would normally pay on a regular evening. The hotel employees said that the evening’s dinner was booked almost completely full, showing the draw and value of such a big Christmas dinner in Shanghai.
The note about 88 percent of young lovers in Shanghai preferring Western-style food once again reminds us how much of an opportunity this is for restauranteurs — and others in the hospitality industry — marketing their concepts in China. If you can design a beautiful, romantic evening, they WILL come.