World sees red as Chinese New Year goes increasingly global

Chinese New Year has gone global in the last couple of years with a marked uptick in engagement worldwide. 

Chinese New Year has gone global in the last couple of years with a marked uptick in engagement worldwide. Heavily impacted by the growing global awareness of Chinese New Year is the retail sector — especially high-end merchandise and luxury brands.

Brand leaders and major retail chains are finding Chinese New Year has a profound effect not just on the global supply chain for their goods sourced from China, but on their retail sales at home as well.

Buying new things to wear and to give as gifts is an important way for Chinese consumers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Total earnings of retail and catering enterprises in China this year rose 8.5 percent year on year to a record 1.01 trillion yuan (US$150 billion), according to the latest data from the Ministry of Commerce.

In 2017, Chinese consumers accounted for 32 percent of all luxury brand purchases worldwide, according to Boston-based consultancy Bain & Co. A November study by the company also said Chinese consumers will be responsible for nearly half of global high-end luxury sales by 2025.

So, savvy global brands and top retail chains are all “seeing red” — the auspicious Chinese New Year color — and getting into the action to promote their goods and services by targeting Chinese consumers with new product lines, specialty items and marketing campaigns inspired by the Lunar New Year.

The top retailers and global brand leaders have found appealing ways to build hype and consumer anticipation leading up to and beyond the New Year as they seek to expand and extend consumer engagement.

In particular, younger Chinese consumers tend to spend their holiday money, rather than save it, and are looking for immediate gratification via shopping, encouraging retailers to target this lucrative demographic.

For instance, seeking greater relevance with young Chinese consumers, Lululemon, the Canadian athleisure retailer, created a Chinese New Year collection last year. It paired 10 healthier lifestyle practices with 10 Chinese cultural elements and lunar festival traditions in a marketing campaign entitled “Practice Takes Practice.”

Weaving elements of the traditional Chinese zodiac into product designs and marketing campaigns can lead to successful cross-cultural sales opportunities and helps brands appeal to Chinese consumers.

Also, the animal traits of the zodiac character each year give a hint about how Chinese consumers see the year to come, so they can be artfully taken into account when designing these new products.

Online retailer Amazon has a vast array of Chinese New Year theme-related merchandise to entice Year of the Pig shoppers, including decorations, clothing, statues, jewelry, and more, all just one click away.

Many top retail chains have also gotten into the Chinese New Year fever, staging Chinese New Year-themed marketing campaigns and merchandise.

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