The Chinese "Golden Week" refers either of the two week-long holidays around National Day on October 1, and the lunar calendar Spring Festival which usually falls in January or February of each year. Tens of millions of Chinese traval by air, train and road to family reunions, vacations or shopping centres during these holidays.
Gold hunt: jewellery outshines luxury goods in golden week
Gold tops mainlanders' shopping lists as the hunt for favoured bracelets and necklaces keeps the visitors away from their traditional haunts
Mainland tourists spent less on luxury products during the first two days of the "golden week" holiday as they remained preoccupied with gold hunting.
"Gold products, including nuggets, bracelets and necklaces, are still the top priority of mainlanders, although the spending has come off the peak now," said Maureen Fung Sau-yim, the general manager of retail leasing firm Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency.
The firm is a subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai Properties and manages the apm shopping mall in Kwun Tong.
Holidaymakers joining tours to visit the apm mall spent a quarter of their stay in the gold and jewellery shops, at the expense of visits to other shops, Fung said.
However, spending on gold products fell below HK$30,000 per tourist, down from HK$50,000 to HK$60,000 on average last week, partly because some of the more popular products were out of stock after the gold rush in the previous weeks.
Most of the bracelets featuring the dragon and phoenix are out of stock as people snapped them up for wedding gifts during the slump in gold prices.
"We have already been refilling stock more frequently to keep up with projected sales during the holiday but it is still not enough," said a Luk Fook Jewellery spokesman.
Customers had to wait for two months before taking delivery of the bracelets, which takes about 45 days to make, the spokesman added. Meanwhile, sales of branded products and personal audio and video goods are declining.
"The consumption pattern of mainlanders has changed over time," said Kenny Tang Sing-hing, a general manager at AMTD Financial Planning. "First-time buyers of luxury products are decreasing and the demand for branded products depends on the replacement market now, which means the growth rate will be coming down."
Fung expects the growth rate for sales of branded products will slow significantly from last year. "Mainland customers have become more sophisticated in buying branded products as their experience is enriched, and brand choices are more diverse now," she said.
The projected sales for golden week remain positive, in light of the enthusiasm shown by gold buyers.
"I forecast that the spending per customer will reach HK$30,000 while the number of the tour visitors will increase by 20 per cent," Fung said.
During the three-day holiday, the leasing company has organised 55 tours with 2,700 tourists expected to visit its Kwun Tong shopping mall.