About 75 percent of Chinese people are planning to give digital red envelopes of gift money as they welcome the Year of the Rooster, a significant increase from last year's 30 percent, according to an annual study on consumers' spending intentions.
United Overseas Bank's annual Lunar New Year survey shows that fun and novelty (59 percent) and convenience (57 percent) were the top reasons to send digital red envelopes. The main recipients of digital red envelopes will be friends and colleagues/employees (45 percent), children (35 percent) and relatives' children (30 percent).
The survey was conducted by Ipsos, a research services provider, which interviewed 1,000 consumers in Shanghai and Beijing aged between 18 and 55 in December.
Increasing number of foreign banks such as UOB, in addition to domestic banks such as Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, have launched payment functions on social media platforms such as WeChat, to enable consumers to send digital red envelopes.
Winston Lim, head of personal financial services for UOB in China, said that considering how increasingly active the Chinese consumers spending online, it is natural trend that giving red envelopes as a gift is also online.
Lim said he expects the year-on-year increase in digital payments among the bank's clients may reach 20 percent in 2017.
The survey also showed that Chinese would continue to be prudent with the money they receive in their red envelopes.
Nearly 50 percent of respondents said they would invest the money.
Although digital red envelopes in China are becoming more popular, traditional red packets tend to be bulkier. Respondents said they expected to allocate an average of 4,235 yuan (8) for traditional red envelopes, compared with 2,860 yuan for their digital counterparts.