Schedule your promotions in China
The whole world has been talking about how lucrative ecommerce in China can be in, since Alibaba has just smashed its own sales record on Singles Day last year. Reaching $14.3 billion in sales within 24 hours is unparalleled in the world’s ecommerce history. In every country, the shopping behavior of people follows a certain pattern. The same goes for China, people like to shop for different products during the many festivals. For international companies, tailoring their sales strategies around Chinese traditions and cultures has proven to be difficult. We are here to save your effort – below is a Chinese holiday ecommerce sales calendar for 2016. Put it to use and determine what to sell and when to sell it!
January 1- New Year
Younger generations in China enjoy celebrating New Year more than their parents do. Major shopping malls arrange special events such as New Year countdowns and firework shows to increase traffic and boost sales.
This is a good time to bond with customers by thanking them for their support throughout the year. Launch New Year promotions to clear up your excessive inventories. Besides, January is also a peak time when Chinese consumers buy gifts for the Spring Festival. Prepare your pre Spring Festival campaign in advance.
February 8 – Spring Festival
This is the most important holiday in China. Everyone travels back to their home town to get together with their family and eat traditional food. Children receive ‘Hongbao’ (pocket money in a red envelop). Stores and restaurants barely open, food and gifts are supposed to be prepared beforehand. It is normal to expect late delivery if you are shopping online around this time.
Snacks such as candy bars, nuts, cookies and chips are especially popular around this time. People like to buy toys for children and healthcare products (nutrition supplements, blood pressure monitor¡) as gifts for the elderly. Shopping starts as early as in December and lasts until early February. Plan your campaigns and organize your inventories in advance. Be prepared to invest in delivery, customers are very keen to receive their holiday gifts and supplies on time.
The travel industry is extra popular during this time of year, as more and more families are traveling long-distance during the Spring Festival. Coastal cities in China as well as abroad are hot destinations.
What’s so special during the Spring Festival, is that offline catalogs are sent out more often than usual. The older generations are often in charge of preparing food and gifts. While the elderly are often less familiar with online shopping, sending catalogs is a good way to boost offline sales.
April – Qingming Festival/Tomb-sweeping Day
A festival for the Chinese to memorize their ancestors. Traditionally activities for this day involve visiting and maintaining the graves of their ancestors. Nowadays, the festival has evolved to become a time for people to go on short-distance travel.
Promotions usually starts from mid-March. It is a good idea to promote travel-related products and sportswear. For travel agencies, promoting short-distance travel packages will likely to bring additional traffic. Cosmetic products such as sunscreens are also on high demand, since Chinese women usually avoid getting tanned from sunlight.
May 1 – Labor Day
Chinese people used to take an entire week off for Labor Day. Even if the break was shortened, it is still considered a major holiday. Travelling is especially popular at this time. For those who prefer to stay indoors, online shopping can be a frequent activity.
Roll out your promotion campaigns at least a month beforehand. Create comprehensive campaigns to promote your products. Free shipping, promotion codes, discounts¡pull out all the stops to boost sales!
May – Dragon Boat festival
The Dragon Boat festival is a time when family members gather together and share local food (e.g. Zongzi) together. Besides, mountain climbing is a traditional activity for the day. Families usually go out for a short tour outside the city.
For foreign food retailers, it’s a good opportunity to innovate upon the traditional food. StarBucks, for example, combined the shape of Zongzi with stuffed ice cream and rolled it out during the festival. In addition, travel agencies can also promote excursion tours for families.
June 1 – Children’s Day
Children’s day is surely the most popular holiday for kids in China. Unlike in western societies, where children can receive their dream gifts during Christmas, Chinese kids are expecting theirs on Children’s day.
While a lot of parents purchase gifts from online, others just take their children to stores. It is important to integrate both online and offline strategies, and make sure you have sufficient inventories in stock. Regular gifts for school kids are definitely going into your campaign. In addition, featuring infant products such as milk powder and infant clothes could be another attraction for parents. Emphasize the fact that these products are being imported from western countries, since Chinese parents are often concerned about product quality.
September 10 – Teacher’s Day
Teachers are respected and honored in China, as they are in western countries. On this day, students give their teachers small gifts to show their gratitude.
It is common for stores in China to give a discount to customers who hold a Teacher’s Certificate (a mandatory license for teachers in China). For online stores, cherry pick some Teacher’s day gifts for your customer. Feature small and non-expensive gifts in your campaign – cards, chocolates and flowers etc. Pricy gifts are inappropriate to give to teachers. If your database allows you to filter customers by profession, scan out the teachers and give them a promotional code.
October 1 – National Day
The National Day is almost as important as the Spring Festival. People get a week off and long distance travels are especially popular around this time. A lot of couples also choose to hold their wedding ceremony during this holiday.
Launch all-rounded campaigns to promote your products. These campaigns should be announced in September as a warm-up.
November 11- The Single’s Day
The Single’s Day has been breaking world-wide sales records year after year. Many people start shopping on the 10th of November and wait until 12 o’clock before they pay for everything piled up in their shopping carts.
Launch promotions and give out discounts as it is the highlight of ecommerce of the year. Pay extra attention to your delivery, common issue occurring during 11.11 are slow delivery and lost packages.
December 25 – Christmas
Although not celebrated as a traditional Chinese festival, Christmas is becoming very popular among the younger generations. Couples celebrate it as a romantic festival, and friends exchange gifts for fun.
Make your campaigns look trendy and cozy, as Christmas is celebrated more as a ‘fashion’ holiday than a family gathering. This is a good time to sell imported goods as they are especially favored by young adults. Luxury goods can also sell well – people are expecting more disposable income towards the year end.
The Chinese market is extremely diversified. Although a large number of Chinese consumers are price-sensitive, the others are willing to spend their money on luxury goods. The same goes for communication channels: while business people check their emails regularly, SMS and Wechat are channels used by teenagers, elderly and even residents from rural areas. During each holiday, customers from all walks of life are looking to take advantages of promotions. With the many holidays to come in 2016, plan your campaign accordingly to drive up your sales!