“Watches and Wonders”, a luxury watch trade show, is taking up residence for three months on Hainan Island, China, from 2 December at both the CDF Mall in Sanya and the newly opened one in Haikou.
CDF Mall is the world’s largest duty-free shopping centre under the investment from China International Travel Services Group with total construction costs amounting to over 5 billion RMB ($700 million).
In the event, thirteen brands will be showcasing their latest collections as well as a jointly curated watchmaking exhibition. Participating brands include A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Girard-Perregaux, Hermès, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, Ulysse Nardin, and Vacheron Constantin.
This is Hainan Island’s third time holding a high-end watchmakers trade show, which demonstrates the great potential of the duty-free market. Despite the economic slowdown in 2021, Hainan’s duty-free market continued to skyrocket with offshore duty-free spending reaching 50.49 billion RMB (approximately $7.9 billion), representing an 83% growth year-on-year.
China’s COVID restrictions on international travel are partly the reason behind the soaring sales in Hainan’s duty-free shopping mall. Chinese consumers have shifted from “shopping overseas” to “shopping in Hainan”, which made it an alternative to traditional shopping destinations such as Japan and South Korea which are favoured by Chinese shoppers.
According to Sina, after China’s authorities eased COVID travel restrictions, the number of flights purchased and hotels booked for Hainan Island increased by 3.3 times as of today. With the holidays such as Chinese New Year on 22 January 2023 on the way and retaliatory consumption occurring post-pandemic, Hainan duty-free malls have a bright future ahead of the festive season.