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China’s Mid-Autumn Festival Holiday Sees Steady Growth in Consumer Spending

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Coresight Research

Key Points

China’s Mid-Autumn Festival is a major holiday for Chinese families to gather, eat festive foods prepared especially for this holiday and enjoy the sight of the full moon, indicating the start of fall. The holiday falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, so it varies each year but this year was on September 13.

  • Over 100 million Chinese went on leisure tours in China during this year’s three-day holiday, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China.
  • Over 75% of Chinese tourists took part in some cultural activity, such as making mooncakes, said the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China.
  • Box office receipts hit ¥790 million (around $111.64 million) during the holiday period, 49.9% year over year growth, according to the China Movie Data Information Network.

China’s Mid-Autumn Festival is a major holiday for Chinese families to gather, eat festive foods prepared especially for this holiday and enjoy the sight of the full moon indicating the start of fall. The holiday falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, so it varies each year, but this year was on September 13.

Chinese consumers traveled around China, took part in cultural activities and went to the movies during the festive period, which for the second year in a row stretched over a weekend.

Mooncake Sales See Strong Growth

The most iconic aspect of the holiday is eating mooncakes, a baked sweet made of dough and filled with a variety of ingredients from bean paste to lotus seed, and almost always a whole egg yolk in the center. Mooncakes are offered to friends and family and often brought into the workplace.

The JD Big Data Research Institute said mooncake sales in China grew 52% year over year in the two-week period prior to the Mid-Autumn Festival, showing Chinese consumers remain confident in spending. Mooncakes made with white lotus seed paste filling saw 80% year-over-year growth.

Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong were the top three regions in terms of mooncake spend. Consumers in Shandong province, Liaoning province and Chongqing (a large municipality in south-central China) spent 30% more year over year, also according to the JD Big Data Research Institute.

Maxim white lotus seed paste mooncake with egg yolk
Source: Weibo

More Chinese Travelled During the Mid-Autumn Festival

During this year’s three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, 105 million Chinese tourists travelled around China, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, a 7.6% year over year increase.

Domestic tourism revenue grew 8.7% to ¥47.28 billion (around $6.68 billion), according to the ministry. Around 48.01 million domestic railway trips were made between September 12 and 15, according to China Railway. Trains throughout the country carried an average of 12 million passengers per day during the period, up 13.2% year over year.

Around 25% of Chinese consumers went overseas, according to travel agency Tuniu, saying Japan, Thailand and Indonesia were top destinations.

Cultural Events Were a Hit

About 76.4% of tourists joined in cultural activities to celebrate this year, such as making moon cakes, said the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China. The Heilongjiang Art Academy and Troupe hosted 151 shows, while various local operas organized by the Huangmei Opera Art Center were livestreamed. About 221,900 individuals visited 115 museums in Shanghai.

Rising interest in cultural activities came after China’s State Council released guidelines encouraging people to spend more on culture and tourism just before the holiday.

Box Office Receipts See Huge Growth

Movie theaters were a major beneficiary of the holiday period. Box office revenue reached ¥790 million (around $111.64 million) during the holiday period, 49.9% year-over-year growth, according to the China Movie Data Information Network. Leading was a domestic fantasy film called Jade Dynasty, which raked in about ¥270 million (around $38 million).

Movie: Jade Dynasty
Source: Weibo

Key Insights

Spending during this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival suggests Chinese consumer spending remains buoyant. Spending on travel, cultural events and cinemas saw solid, and in some cases very strong, growth during the holiday. The holiday bodes well for the near-term outlook, including for the upcoming National Day Golden Week in early October, another peak period for travel which we will cover in a separate report.

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