China's holiday gift market is booming

Updated: 2012-02-03 10:14

By Zhao Yanrong (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The demand in the Chinese gift market was as much as 768 billion yuan ($122 billion) in 2011, and the Spring Festival (also known as the Lunar New Year) accounted for up to 60 percent of this huge market.

China's holiday gift market is booming

A wholesale market for gift packaging in Beijing. The Chinese Lunar New Year is the most important festival for the nation, generating the strongest demand for gifts every year.[Photo/China Daily]


That's according to a survey published by the China Gift Industry Research Institute (CGIRI) in Beijing.

Individuals and families created demand worth 505 billion yuan, while companies and organizations registered 263 billion yuan last year, according to the survey.

"The Chinese are willing to present gifts to their friends, families or people who they think are important to them, across all kinds of festivals and ceremonies, which creates a huge gift market," said Zhang Xiaopeng, head of the CGIRI, on Tuesday, adding that the market is growing annually as the standard of living rises.

The Chinese Lunar New Year is the most important festival for the population, generating the strongest demand for gifts every year.

According to Zhang, around 60 percent of purchases are made in the two months running up to the Lunar New Year festivities.

During the various holiday seasons, individuals and families frequently visit their friends with gifts, and companies and organizations send presents to clients and employees.

"World-famous luxury-brand goods such as handbags, watches, wines and the latest electronic devices such as all kinds of Apple products, especially those purchased overseas, have become the most popular gifts in recent years."

"On the one hand, these products are rare in the mainland. On the other they also show off the donors' overseas experience," according to Zhang.

For example, at around 3,000 yuan, most of those giving gifts prefer to donate items such as tie pins made by a luxury brand from Italy rather than Chinese-made household goods. A sample investigation conducted by CGIRI in a number of Beijing's shopping malls indicated that more than 60 percent of famous-brand products were purchased as gifts last year.

On the second working day after the Spring Festival holiday, Liu Yingjie had already received a number of calls from people who wanted to sell iPhones and iPads that had been given as gifts.

"On average, I can receive five new iPhones and eight iPads after the Chinese New Year. Most people received them as gifts but not are interested in using them," Liu, 27, who works in customer services at the Beijing-based Hengtai Technology Co Ltd, a company that recycles products made by Apple Inc.

He also sees a lot of mp3 and mp4 players.

"It's very common for companies to give employees and clients the iPad2 and iPhone 4s as gifts, which means some of these devices make it onto the secondary market quite quickly," said Liu.