Thu, Feb 03, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Shoppers prepare to spend lavishly on Valentine's Day

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Online shoppers are showing their capacity for high levels of consumption in the virtual world as over 60 percent of respondents said they would like to spend at least NT$4,000 (US$125) to buy Valentine's Day gifts, a local shopping Web site said yesterday, citing results of a survey it conducted.

Among a wide array of choices available for their significant others, clothes, fancy dinners and jewelry beat the traditional options of flowers and chocolates to top the list in the poll conducted by ET Mall (東森購物網路商城) under the Eastern Home Shopping Network (東森得易購).

With 2.2 million members around the nation, Eastern Home Shopping operates five TV channels to deliver a variety of home-shopping services.

The survey interviewed 720 Web surfers in Taiwan between Jan. 10 and Jan. 14, with a whopping 84 percent of the respondents intending to prepare surprises for their loved ones to show their appreciation, Kevin Chen (陳彥豪), chief operation officer for Internet business at Eastern Home Shopping, said at a press conference.

The poll showed that 12 percent of Taipei respondents chose garments and accessories as their favorite gifts, while in central Taiwan's Taichung, the idea of savoring a candle-lit dinner together won the most support, garnering 30 percent of votes.

In Kaohsiung, giving jewelry and designer items is the most popular choice, with 21 percent of respondents' support. But surprisingly, none of Kaohsiung respondents would choose traditional romantic symbols of flowers, chocolates and candies.

Taichung residents are the only group among the three areas saying they would like to go sexy by giving lingerie and sex toys, according to the poll results.

City dwellers of Taipei apparently are less fervent as 45 percent said they are still clueless about how to observe the occasion, compared with 3.9 percent of their Taichung counterparts, Chen said.

Although the market size of Valentine's Day products is relatively small compared with other major selling periods, including Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival, retailers are still launching promotions and unique services to create topics.

Several diamond vendors such as Golden Life Gold Jewelry Co (今生金飾), Cheng Chin-chiang Co (鄭金匠), I Do Golden Co (愛戀金誓) and J'code Corp (真愛密碼) also expect to see booming sales this Valentine's Day compared to last year, thanks to the economic recovery which allowed the nation's diamond market to boom, as people had bigger purchasing power for luxury goods.

Convenience chain Taiwan Nikomart Co (福客多) is cooperating with high-end motel chain I MORE to sell special packages priced at NT$3,999 each, as well as launch advance-booking products under the brandname Burberry and CK, ranging in price from NT$1,000 to NT$2,000.

Budget shoppers can pick up specially designed scarves called the "Trap of Love" costing NT$299 each at 7-Eleven stores.

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