While Chinese New Year is a traditional family celebration, it has also become a shopping event big enough to rival Christmas.
Also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year in 2016 kicks off on February 7.
Here are a few facts about the festival, and some tips to help you make the most of marketing to Chinese audiences throughout the festive period.
A few facts about Chinese New Year
- Chinese New Year has rural roots related to farming, but it remains very popular with people in the cities and urban areas. The festival will run from February 7 to 13 this year, providing Chinese citizens with a week-long public holiday, and 2016 is the Year of the Monkey.
- Traditionally, it is a time for family reunions and exchanging of gifts between family members and business associates, but many people also use it as an opportunity to travel overseas – and to plan shopping activities while they are away. In 2015, more than five million people travelled overseas during the holiday, according to a report on marketing industry news site The Drum.
- It has become a big retail event, with the 2015 festival recording sales of approximately $A148 billion, according to the report.
- Preparations begin during January, with families buying not just gifts but also groceries – which is especially important since many Chinese shops and businesses close for business during the holiday.
Festival shopping trends
- Popular items during the holiday season include clothing, shoes, accessories, grooming products and snack foods.
- With many people in China now earning higher incomes, there has been a shift away from giving trinkets as gifts in favour of pricier branded products.
- Hongbao – lucky red envelopes containing money – make popular traditional gift items.
- With many people choosing to travel, the convenience of online bookings for hotels, flights and restaurants is very important.
Festival marketing tips
- With many people looking online for gifts, the festival provides a great opportunity for product promotions, discounts and special offers.
- Make sure to gear your promotions strongly towards mobile devices. Make it as easy as possible for people to order, buy and pay for good online.
- Incorporate social media into your marketing strategy through advertising on major platforms such as WeChat and Weibo.
- Chinese consumers enjoy the convenience of shopping online and having goods delivered to their homes, so ensure you are able to deliver orders on time as promised.
- Consider using the festival as an opportunity to build on your relationships in China by sending seasonal gifts to business associates.
If you want to benefit from the Chinese New Year shopping bonanza, it’s time to hurry up and get ready, or at least start planning for next year!
If you need assistance in making the most of this opportunity, our China Online Marketing division can help you with putting a marketing strategy in place and localising content for Chinese audiences.