- As the COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, the strong festive atmosphere encourages travel and consumption.
- New Year gifts are no longer limited to food. The demand for healthcare products is increasing.
- The tradition continues. Physical “lai-see” is still more prevalent than eLaisee in Hong Kong.
- Due to the global economic outlook, public investment tends to be conservative.
- The Year of the Rabbit, economic and livelihood issues are most concerning.
HONG KONG SAR, 17 January 2023 – Stepping into 2023, as Hong Kong relaxes and cancels social distancing measures, people’s daily life gradually returns to normal, posing a positive impact on the consumer market. To help brands seize business opportunities, Kantar takes an in-depth review of Hong Kong consumers’ popular CNY activities, consumption plans, and resolutions for 2023.
As the COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, the strong festive atmosphere encourages travel and consumption.
According to the data, travel and consumption activities during CNY increase. As Hong Kong has scrapped all social distancing restrictions, 80% of the people will resume socializing, consumption, and entertainment, including dinner with relatives and friends (64%), dinner out on New Year’s Eve (46%) and traveling abroad (21%). Most respondents expressed their hope to return to normal post pandemic (78%).
Compared with respondents without children, consumers with kids are significantly more engaged in social events. The most popular family activities include visiting relatives and friends (73%), dining out (54%), traveling abroad (27%) and joining large events (25%). It is worth mentioning that 68% of the parents who choose outdoor events tend to visit museums and exhibitions. Hong Kong has strengthened the promotion of culture and art in recent years, and several cultural facilities and museums have been established. As a result, parents are able to cultivate young children’s interest and appreciation in art.
During the CNY, 41% of respondents will increase local consumption, and 55% believe that it is because of the festive atmosphere. Real estate developers, shopping malls and brand owners may resume holding more bazaars, exhibitions, and themed decorations. Besides adding a festive atmosphere and providing a variety of experiences, it can also stimulate consumption sentiment.
Recently, online shopping has become a habit of Hong Kong people. When asked how to use the lai-see money they received this year, half of the respondents said they would use it for shopping, and 81% of them expected to spend it online, close to spending on offline stores (92%). Among various online shopping platforms, HKTVmall is the most popular among citizens. 50% of the respondents indicate that they will increase the frequency of shopping on the platform, which is likely due to the more diversified products, the presence of popular brands, and the stable and fast delivery.
At the same time, due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, some people are worried and choose to stay home. More than half of them will watch TV (54%) and videos (44%) alone or with their families at home. 55% of them express that they can tolerate all advertisements to use the streaming platform for free, indicating that there is still potential for brands to place advertisements on YouTube and other platforms.
New Year gifts are no longer limited to food. The demand for healthcare products is increasing.
During Hong Kong’s three-year fight against COVID-19, people are increasingly health-conscious. Paying more attention to the healthcare of themselves and the loved ones, over 60% of people wish to be healthier in the new year. The choice of New Year’s gifts has also become diversified, not limited to food, such as cookies and chocolates. 41% of people choose to buy fitness, health, and beauty care products as gifts for family members, relatives, and friends. 72% of them use the lai-see money to buy fitness equipment and healthcare products for themselves. The trends show that consumers want to stay healthy by workouts and taking supplements.
Research shows that there are different preferences on buying New Year gifts for multiple recipients. When choosing gifts for family members or relatives, food, such as fruits and snacks, is the best option (89%), followed by healthcare products (87%) and shopping cash coupons (80%). People prefer cash coupons for work partners, such as colleagues and subordinates. Lastly, wine is the most popular gifts for bosses and customers.
The tradition continues. Physical “lai-see” is still more prevalent than eLaisee in Hong Kong.
One of the most important traditions during the CNY is undoubtedly “lai-see giving”. People generally start to give out red packets after getting married. The survey results discover that electronic lai-sees are not popular in Hong Kong. 93% of the respondents still stick to the tradition and give out physical lai-sees, which symbolizes blessing the receivers for the coming year with good luck. The younger generation, aged 18-41, are more willing to distribute lai-sees through electronic channels. Among them, 20% choose PayMe, and 20% choose bank’s mobile app. Compared with 2022, there is no particularly obvious difference in the penetration rate of e-Laisee.
Even if citizens have more freedom to celebrate the New Year and dine-out, over 60% of them prepare a similar amount of lai-see as last year, and no significant upward trend can be observed.
Due to the global economic outlook, public investment tends to be conservative.
The study found that the total estimated amount of lai-see in Hong Kong will reach 3.6 billion in 2023. When people are asked how to spend the money, most people choose investment and savings (65%) to realize wealth appreciation; followed by spending money on shopping (50%) and dining (46%) to reward themselves. Compared with female respondents (62%), more male respondents (73%) are inclined to investment and savings; while more female (72%) prefer shopping, with a higher proportion then male (61%).
There is expected to be a slowdown in global economic growth. Among people who choose to spend the lai-see on investment and savings, 90% tend to be conservative, including savings (78%) and bank time deposits (46%), indicating that the risk aversion of citizens has heightened. Financial institutions suggest considering the development and promotion of investment products with lower risks.
The Year of the Rabbit, economic and livelihood issues are most concerning.
During the Chinese New Year, it is inevitable to meet with relatives and elders. Most people should have faced “excessive concern” and have been asked all kinds of overwhelming questions. When it comes to the most embarrassing topic in family gatherings, over half of the people have struggled with questions about work and salary (52%), followed by the topic of life planning (47%). The study shows that there are more embarrassing topics for the younger generation, aged 18-41, about 2 to 3 questions on average. An interesting finding is that relationships and marital status, which are often perceived to be the “taboo topics”, receive the lowest votes (29%). It seems that everyone can also take the opportunity to care about others’ love life during the festival.
People look ahead to a new year with hope. Saying goodbye to the Year of the Tiger, Hong Kong citizens’ popular wishes are still the same as last year, all related to health (61%), money (52%) and work (39%). The top four most concerned topics are “inflation” (35%), “health/health care” (33%), “stock market/ housing market” (31%) and “interest rate ” (27%), related to society, economy, and livelihood issues.
Jeff Tsui, General Manager of Kantar Profiles, Greater China commented:
“The report shows that there is a significant increase in consumers’ willingness to travel and spend during Chinese New Year. Positive impact can be found in the catering, large-scale events, health consumption, tourism sectors etc. Brands and service providers should seize the business opportunities to create more diversified products and bring more new experiences to consumers to meet their needs in the new year.”