When do stores offer discounts and sales in China?
Everybody loves a bargain, and with online shopping continuing to put pressure on physical stores, there are more bargains than ever in China. This is especially true on certain dates of the year, when almost all major stores (and many websites – hey, it’s a competitive world) will offer big discounts on their goods. Read on to find out which dates can save you dollars in the PRC.
Mid December to mid/late January
Where: Shopping malls, franchise stores, home appliances stores.
The Chinese mainland typically sees a period of sales from around Christmastime to a couple of weeks before the Chinese New Year, with discounts appearing on clothes, cosmetics, home appliances and home supplies as families engage in a Spring Festival shopping spree gifts and goodies in order to celebrate the start of a new year.
About one to two weeks prior to the Spring Festival these sales will cease, as the shops capitalize on the desperation of last-minute shoppers. If you plan to buy something, do not wait until the festival!
International Women’s Day: March 6-8
Where: Shopping malls, online shops.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, and while the world celebrates the diversity, strength, intelligence and independence of women around the globe, women’s wear brands and cosmetic brands alike offer discounts to boost their sales. Cynical? Us?
National Day: October 1
Where: Shopping malls, home appliances stores.
What could be more patriotic than discount home appliances? With most of the Chinese mainland on holiday, shops use National Day and the associated week-long resting period to encourage people to get out of their houses and shop around for new goods. Some shops extend the good times by maintaining these low prices for the month leading up to Singles’ Day (see below).
Singles’ Day: November 11
Where: Shopping malls, home appliances stores, and especially online shops.
Online shops generally claim to have low prices and small profit margins the whole year round and so avoid discounts where they can, but even they join in with Singles’ Day, China’s biggest discount event, and the largest online shopping day in the world.
The holiday is celebrated on November 11 each year because the date can be rendered as 11.11, which looks like a series of lonely individuals. This is also why the holiday has its Chinese name, Guānggùn Jié, or “Bare Sticks Holiday.” It is generally a time for single people to celebrate (or commiserate) their freedom together, and possibly to buy something nice to cheer themselves up.
Although the event is regarded as a great chance for people to get top discounts, there are rumors that shops deliberately increase prices a couple of weeks before the event, then “drop” the price down to the original figure in order to claim it as a discount. If you want to buy a specific item, it is suggested that you keep your eye on it about half a month before the Singles’ Day sales and see how the price shakes out.
Other stores deliberately limit how many sale items they are willing to offer on the day, so that customers have to buy them as early in the day as possible. Many choose to stay up to until 11.59 pm on November 10 to get the bargains that they want.
In order to get their share of the spoils, offline shops will also offer discounts on their goods, especially for those that have which have both online and offline shops, such as the Sunning and Gome electrical shops. This means it’s a great time to buy home appliances.
Other discount days
Shops do, of course, offer their own sales days outside of these major holidays – especially home appliance stores, which tend to capitalize on bank holidays such as May Day and Mid-Autumn Day as those tend to be the days when homeowners make the effort to shop around for goods. To keep track of shopping malls and large stores’ promotions, you could follow their accounts on the messaging app WeChat (aka Weixin), as they tend to announce promotions in advance.
In Hong Kong the biggest sales events come at the middle and the end of a year – specifically from July to September (as part of a widespread summer sales promotion to pull punters away from the sun and beaches) and from November/December to just before Chinese New Year (in a similar fashion to the mainland). However, there are no fixed dates for these events.
There may also be periodic sales that vary from store to store, particularly when a store is changing from its winter stock to its summer fare.
The only department store in Macau, New Yaohan, has two VIP days each year, with one day in June and November. On these two days, the store offers discounts on various products sold. The exact dates are decided by the store; in 2014, the VIP days were on June 5 and November 5.