Valentine's Day 'will boost business'
Updated: 2012-02-13 09:30
By Tang Zhihao (China Daily)
Chocolates and flowers said to be high on the list of priorities for young sweethearts
SHANGHAI - Businesses in China are expecting a new boost after the New Year and Chinese Spring Festival spending frenzies thanks to the forthcoming Valentine's Day.
Will you be buying chocolate for your sweetheart? Hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and even flower vendors see this year's Valentine's Day, which is on Tuesday, as a big business opportunity after the Chinese lunar New Year holiday. [Photo/China Daily]
Although Valentine's Day is not a traditional festival in Chinese culture, it has received wide recognition among young people over the past decade. They consider it to be a good opportunity to express their love and some young men even try to persuade girlfriends to become brides in creative ways.
It's good news for retailers because most lovers will exchange small gifts to commemorate the occasion. Florists started to receive orders two weeks before Feb 14 and chocolate makers also increase their supplies to meet booming demand. Hotels also started receiving bookings several days ago.
To better meet demand, businesses are sparing no effort to ensure they have something new to attract attention. For instance, some restaurants in Shanghai are offering big discounts to customers who walk in hand-in-hand.
Godiva, a luxury Belgian chocolate brand with outlets in six cities on the Chinese mainland, said it has cooperated with Spanish designer Jaime Hayon to design special packaging for Valentine's Day.
"Valentine's Day is one of the most important days for chocolate retailers. We need to make sure we can offer something different every year," said Quasar Liang, senior marketing executive of Godiva (Shanghai) Food Trading Co Ltd.
Florists expect to make substantial sales on this Valentine's Day, more than last year's when it came three days ahead of the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival and four days after the Spring Festival holiday. That is a time when many young people prefer to stay with their family rather than sweethearts. Many businesses said sales in 2011 were not as good as expected.
"We expect market demand to double this year because Valentine's Day falls on Tuesday, a working day when we can receive many orders from offices," said Xiong Qin, a manager at Uling Flower. Xiong's shop is close to Middle Huaihai Road in Huangpu district, Shanghai. "We will hire a taxi to deliver flowers in the central business area block by block".
Xiong said she expects to receive about 100 orders before Feb 14 and about 150 orders on the day itself. A bouquet of flowers with 11 roses will cost about 300 yuan ($48) or more. Some imported roses will be priced at 60 yuan each.
Many florists will raise prices significantly for orders made on Feb 14. Customers will be better off sending orders in advance to ensure a better deal and better quality.
"I am sure florists will spend less time on each bunch of flowers on Feb 14 because orders will be flooding in when we start work. We may not do our job as carefully as we normally do," added Xiong.
Some five star hotels are offering Valentine's Day dinner packages and have received bookings in advance.
Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai has introduced a room package priced at 1,992 yuan. It includes a room decorated with rose petals and a bottle of Champagne.
Qunar, a Chinese online travel service provider, said hotel bookings reached a peak about one week before Valentine's Day. The most popular are rooms priced at 200 yuan to 300 yuan a night.
"Young people are paying more attention to protecting their privacy and like to enjoy a moment only for themselves. As it will be a working day after Valentine's Day, many people will spend the night in a hotel," said Wang Jing, senior director of the hotel sector with Qunar.com.
Qunar has introduced a hotel online booking system that allows people to name their own price for a room. Hotels will accept the offer if it is considered reasonable. It is believed to be the first time this kind of business model has been introduced in the industry.
However, not all leisure service providers are optimistic about the market. Several travel agencies report demand for short distance traveling is not good because of cold weather and the fact that Valentine's Day falls on a working day.
Yang Yijun in Shanghai contributed to this story.