Marketing for chinese consumers in Chinese New Year

Marketing for chinese consumers in Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 2021 is celebrated on February 12th although the festival will last to 26th February (reaching 15 days in total) bringing together around 1.5 billion people celebrating it. Also known as Lunar New Year of Spring Festival it changes every year depending on the movement of the moon (Chinese lunar calendar), but it always remains as an e-commerce business's massive opportunity to drive sales. 

Even though we can be distracted with the global sales season, the marketer with an eye on China should be really looking forward to this celebration. As we saw in recent online shopping festivals in the country we can expect sales to once again beat previous years such as the record-breaking sales opportunity on Single’s Day 2020.
But what should your brand be aware to map out for this year's festival? Your marketing budget in 2021 should be focused on: retail (website and app), social media and content marketing as consumers rely more than ever before on online channels to search, discover, compare, buy and engage with brands. So be sure to create a campaign to reach a full e-commerce experience and connect consumers touch points across channels.
Let’s introduce some recommendations for the online shopping festival. COVID-19 onset accelerated the digital evolution in China, a global digital powerhouse pre-pandemia. That’s why the transformation of consumer behaviour is enduring in 2021 and your brand should look for a digital channel audit, an online salesforce or livestreaming sales strategies in order to increase its digitalization. This behaviour change also affected the way consumers manage its finances leading to less impulse buying and more planning about what to purchase (long lead times). That’s why your campaigns for Chinese New Year (CNY) that normally would be starting 2-4 weeks before the day should be starting even earlier this year to increase brand touch points with consumers.

1. Success stories from previous years

The Internet has shaped the way people celebrate CNY, as well as the strategy brands adopt for Chinese New Year marketing.
In the last 2 years, the popularization of short videos has changed the way people make New Year’s greetings. In 2019, over 30 million people expressed their greetings to family and friends through short videos using a special sticker or filter on Douyin. In 2020 and 2021, we foresee an increasing number of online greetings due to the impact of the pandemic.

Greetings users Douyin Greetings from users at Douyin 

CNY is just as lively as before, although lots of the activities have switched to online - marketplaces and platforms giving Red Envelope (Hongbao) as incentives, social media and other APPs holding special events or challenges attracting people to participate. Smart brands know how to make waves taking advantage of the trends and gaining more affection from customers. Now we will take a look at some of the best marketing practices.

CNY Short Film

International brands such as Nike, Adidas, Apple etc will create a special short film for their CNY marketing campaign. The theme of the film is usually about hometown, parents, family reunion, and heated topics that will be discussed among relatives such as personal achievements (See video: Top #10 Best Chinese New Year Commercials of All Time).

chinese new year commercialChinese New Year commercial

CNY Limited Collection

Around the end of January or February, the market will be surrounded by red color (the traditional symbol of joy and prosperity), as well as the corresponding Chinese zodiac of the year (2021 is Year of the Ox in Chinese zodiac). For many fashion and luxury brands, it is a “yearly routine” to launch CNY Limited Collection to impress their admirers. Most brands will launch it several weeks or even a month before the big day. 
In terms of channel, the special collection is usually first launched through official website or Tmall. Brands will also push the message across various social media channels such as WeChat, Weibo, Douyin. In recent years, celebrities, KOLs, KOCs and live streaming are also playing an important role in “seeding” or the discovery of the new collection.
Clinique limited cosmetic CNY

Clinique CNY limited cosmetics with the theme of Ox

Reebok CNY collection 2021

Reebok CNY collection 2021 

Using red color and zodiac symbol is the traditional understanding of Chinese style. However, as local brands continue to thrive in recent years, a new aesthetics which consumers feel more attracted to and represented is being shaped. It's recommendable for western brands to take a look at native Chinese brands in order to keep up with the changes in customer taste. 

PEACEBIRD CNY collection 2020

PEACEBIRD CNY collection 2020

Every year, CNY limited collection generates heated discussion on Social Media. Unlike many man-made shopping-oriented festivals, is the most important occasion in the year for family reunion. The nature of this festival determines that CNY Collection should not be purely focused on sale, but rather an opportunity to impress and resonate with customers in a way that they feel represented.
For western brands who want to impress their Chinese admirers at this special moment, it's the perfect time to show your brand’s creativity, understanding of aesthetics and special care to your oriental audiences. Sales will follow the brands who really grab the essence and opportunity of Chinese New Year.

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