First, tickets for the Dayo Wong stand-up comedy show. Now, it is the Peninsula mooncakes.
Why is it that we are increasingly unable to get the things we want through regular means, forcing us to turn to the grey market and pay hefty premiums?
Peninsula’s signature mini egg custard mooncakes, from the hotel’s Spring Moon restaurant, were sold out within a few hours after its online platform started accepting orders at 8 am on Monday.
Even on Tuesday morning, the platform bore a message that the daily mooncake order quota has run out, with buyers advised to try their luck again the next day.
Having faced disappointment for two days, not too many people are optimistic about their chances of landing a box of the limited edition mooncakes online. Hence, the focus now is on the grey market.
The grey market price of a mooncake box is said to have gone as high as HK$800, 45 percent more than its original tag of HK$550.
As is the case with Dayo Wong and Apple’s iPhones, Peninsula seems to want to regularly create news about people queuing up for its products, using the publicity to stoke more curiosity.
The marketing is especially strong given that the mooncakes have short sales window, with stocks to be cleared entirely before the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on September 24 this year.
Mooncake is a substantial non-hotel and property business for Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels, which operates the Peninsula hotel chain.
In its annual report, Peninsula said its clubs and services division reported a two-percentage-point rise in margin mainly due to higher contribution from Peninsula Merchandising — which is involved in mooncake sales, among other things — although some of the margin gain was offset by the loss of income resulting from termination of management contracts for Cathay Pacific Lounges in May 2016.
It is fair to expect a healthy mooncake market in Hong Kong. Earlier this month, Maxim’s Cakes chain sold out its mini egg custard redemption coupons, thanks to surging demand from cross-border customers.
But speculators had a rude shock in this case, as they found that the market for the redemption coupons was not something they had been expecting.
With about 40 days to go before the Mooncake Festival, the coupons are now changing hands below their face value.
Well, you can’t always win!
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