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Red packet survey for the Year of Pig

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

Shoppers 05.02.2019 / 23:16

Pig red packets 2 col

Compared with Year of Dog (2018), we can expect more and bigger red packets on Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

As we enter the new Year of Pig, red packets will again be on everybody’s mind – it’s an indispensable part of Spring Festival celebration. Kantar again commissioned Lightspeed Research to launch an online survey across Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan markets to ask panellists about their plan towards red packet and their new year wishes. By comparing this year’s data with those from last year, maybe we can also spot some changes in consumer confidence and attitude.

Question 1: To give or not to give? (All questions excluding WeChat group red packets which are usually received by unspecified multiple users.)

To fill in some background, the three markets have very different traditions as on who should give red packets to whom. On the mainland, as soon as you get a job and begin to earn salary, you stop to be eligible to receive cash red packets, and instead, you need to give out to younger generations. Now it’s also common for people to give red packets to their parents or senior family members to show respect and gratitude.

In Hong Kong, as long as you are not married, you don’t give out red packets and you can continue to request them from other relatives and friends.

In Taiwan, giving/receiving red packets is only among close family members. For example, only your parents and their immediate brothers and sisters can give you red packets.

The tradition being different, the trend is the same: more people said they will definitely give red packets. On the mainland, the proportion of those “definitely will give” rose by 8 percentage points. In Hong Kong, it rose 3 percentage points. In Taiwan, it also gained 2 percentage points.

On the mainland, the proportion of “definitely not” remained the same as 2%, while that for Hong Kong dropped by 3 percentage points and for Taiwan dropped by 2 percentage points.



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Question 2: How many red packets?

Different cultural traditions also decide different numbers of red packets people plan to give in the three markets. In Hong Kong, in the Chinese New Year period, you are expected to hand out red packets to any acquittance who say “Happy New Year” or “Kung Hei Fat Choy” (wish you make good money) to you. Business owners also need to give all employees red packets on the first working day of the Chinese New Year. So Hong Kong people need to prepare the most number of red packets among the three markets we surveyed. In Taiwan, the criteria for being a “red packet giver” is rather high – you need to be someone’s parent or immediate uncle/aunt – so the number is very small.

On the Chinese mainland, the threshold for being a “giver” is relatively low, but the value for the red packets couldn’t be too small otherwise the receiver will feel insulted (except for casual WeChat red packets). So the number of planned red packets is in the middle.

Generally speaking, compared with last year, mainlanders are planning more or less the same amount of red packets: most people (65% in 2019) are preparing below 20 red packets. However, a major change for Hong Kong “givers” as the proportion of those planning to give more than 50 dropped to 24% from 38% in 2018. In Taiwan, the survey is suggesting more red packets as well: the proportion of giving fewer than 10 red packets dropped by 4 percentage points, while there are increases in the brackets of 11-20 and 21-30 red packets.



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Question 3: How much in the red packets?

Red alert: The red packets are becoming bigger!

To standardize the average value in red packets across the three markets, we categorize all red packet size into seven brackets (no up limit for the seventh bracket). Same level of bracket has similar money value across the three markets.

EN Red Packet Brackets

We have found the same trend across three markets: the red packets are becoming bigger!

The result showed that the proportions of smaller red packets are decreasing while those for bigger red packets are increasing.

For example, on the Chinese mainland, the proportion for the first and lowest bracket (average 10 yuan and below) dropped to 5% from 11%. In Taiwan, the proportion for the first bracket dropped to zero. Across the three markets, the proportions for third, fourth and fifth brackets either remain the same or increase significantly (except for fifth bracket in Taiwan). Also, the proportions for the seventh and highest bracket in all three markets increased. 



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Question 4. Red packet channels

On the Chinese mainland, WeChat Pay (78%) remained the dominant channel – much higher than the traditional format of cash in red envelop (69%). However, there is also a small warning sign: the proportion is 2 percentage points lower than last year. Alipay, the mobile payment service under Alibaba, strongly boosted its proportion by 7 percentage points to 38%.

In Hong Kong and Taiwan, cash is still the most popular channel. Alipay had zero market share in these two markets, while WeChat Pay managed to nearly double its penetration rate to 15% from 8% in 2018.



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Question 5: Wishes for Year of Pig

We have found that 93% of Chinese respondents have new year wishes for the Year of Pig, followed by Taiwan (87%) and Hong Kong (82%).

We listed six options to invite people to pick at most three aspects that they wish to have improvements. Even though the top three are the same across the three markets, people have different priorities.

On the Chinese mainland, people mostly wish they have better health (74%), followed by finance (71%) and work (50%). Hong Kong is very similar, with health (71%) and finance (70%) almost tied at top and work ranked third (53%). Taiwan people ranked finance No.1 (79%) and put health and work at same level (60%). It might make another interesting story if we can find out why Taiwanese have such a different list of priority.



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Finally, the most important thing of this article, is to wish our readers a very happy and prosperous Year of the Pig!

Source: Kantar, Lightspeed

Editor's notes

Note: The survey was carried out online by Lightspeed from Jan 30 till 31, 2019. We collected 300 valid answers from each market. Male vs female as 1:1. On the Chinese mainland, the city tier mix of panellists from tier 1 to 5 is: 43%:33%:12%:4%:9%.

* To reach the author, or to know more information, data and analysis of China's consumer attitude and behaviour insights, please contact us ;

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