Firms not cutting back on mooncake gifts despite downturn

Many companies are still giving out corporate mooncake gifts even though the economic outlook is uncertain.
Many companies are still giving out corporate mooncake gifts even though the economic outlook is uncertain.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Many companies are not reducing the mooncake gifts they usually send out to corporate clients during the mooncake festival season despite weaker economic growth.

Hotels and bakeries The Straits Times contacted said mooncake sales to firms have grown over previous years. Home's Favourite, a pastry and cookie bakery, said orders are up 30 per cent from last year.

Some companies in industries that have been struggling have also not cut back on corporate mooncake gifts.

Oil and gas infrastructure service company Rotary Engineering said that despite difficult conditions and increasing mooncake costs, it has sent the same amount of the tasty treats as it usually does.

It was important for the company to maintain customer relationships, a spokesman said.

Marine and offshore engineering group Sembcorp Marine said that it has kept its mooncake gifts at the same levels.

But some firms are cutting back.

Delivery company Gold Fins and Wings noted that corporate mooncake deliveries have dropped by 20 per cent over last year.

Its clients tend to be from the construction and property sectors giving gifts mainly to subcontractors, lawyers and tenants.

A new trend has emerged this year: A few clients choose to send young entrepreneurs wines and gourmet hampers instead of mooncakes, said Mr Andy Low, founder and owner of Gold Fins and Wings.

This could be because they think young people do not appreciate the taste of mooncakes, he said.

CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun also said that firms in sectors of the economy that are struggling - like oil and gas and investment banking - have told him they have been more selective in who they give mooncake gifts to.

However, he said that the number of mooncake gifts would likely have risen.

"Overall, in Singapore, there are still more companies being formed than closed, and our bankruptcy levels continue to be low. As there is still overall economic growth, there is still overall growth in mooncake sales (to corporates)."

Chia Yan Min and Jeremy Koh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2015, with the headline 'Firms not cutting back on mooncake gifts despite downturn'. Print Edition | Subscribe