Despite the current trade war, the buying power of the Chinese market continues to grow exponentially. If you are selling internationally, you will want to be positioning your brand for the Chinese market and, in particular, you need to know about these 11 massive Chinese shopping festivals. The following 11 Chinese shopping festivals generate more sales than either Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas. So, if you are serious about this market, these shopping festivals are not to be missed.
Singles Day – November 11
The biggest shopping festival of the year in China, by far, is Singles Day. November 11 was originally Bachelor Day due to the single ones in the 11.11 date. These single men celebrated the day by buying gifts for their love interest in the hope that next year they would no longer be single. That was until Jack Ma, of Alibaba fame, decided to turn this day into China’s biggest online shopping day. Now it is more famous for the massive online sales it generates every year. Last year, on Alibaba alone, there were more than USD$30 Billion in sales. In fact, it took only 1 minute and 25 seconds to reach USD 1 Billion in sales. This shopping day is bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined and is one that you need to take very seriously.
Double 12 Festival December 12
Just over one month after the madness of Singles Day, the Double 12 Shopping festival starts. This shopping festival is the chance for retailers to off-load products that didn’t sell during Singles Day. The shopping festival lasts for four days form the 8th – 12th December with many brands offering major discounts and free shipping promotions in the last major shopping date of the year.
Chinese New Year
Christmas and New Year are not traditionally big shopping days. The next big shopping festival is the Chinese Lunar New Year. Next year this falls on January 25 and is the perfect time to connect with your customers by wishing them a Happy New Year with a fantastic promotion. 2020 according to the Chinese zodiac, will be the year of the Rat, so expect to see lots of rat / cute mice in promotions and advertising. Find a way to weave the theme of money, wealth and luck into the festival to make your brand stand out.
March 8th Women’s Day
Chinese retailers and brands are always keen to make the most of any opportunity to create a shopping festival. In this way, Women’s Day on March 8 has turned into a major online selling festival. It is promoted as a day for Women to celebrate by shopping and a perfect chance for men to thank the women in their lives by spending up large on beautiful gifts for their wives, mothers, and even daughters. Many Chinese women get a half-day vacation on this day and now spend shopping or enjoying a day at the spa with friends. You will see many of the major online retailers have jumped on board with their own variation of the day, VIP have ‘Food Beauty Day’, Tmall and Alibaba call it ‘Queen Day’, while JD promotes it as ‘Butterfly day’.
Tomb Sweeping Day
Tomb Sweeping day is the day when many Chinese gather with their families to commemorate their ancestors. Next year this festival falls on Saturday April 4th and is in the middle of a long weekend holiday. As so many Chinese travel to family over this short break, many brands have built this festival into another Chinese shopping festival with travel packages, and sales on sports and travel-related products.
May 20 ‘Wo Ai Ni’ Day
‘Wo Ai Ni’ in Chinese means ‘I love you’ and is also the same pronunciation as the date 5.20 (May 20). This special day became a modern internet Valentine’s Day. While the day is still extremely popular with lovers, this shopping festival has more recently morphed into an expanded eCommerce shopping festival based on the love of family as well. Brands target not only lover’s gifts, but also mothers with irresistible promotions on baby and mother products.
Children’s Day June 1st
Children’s day is yet another massive opportunity for brands to join a growing online shopping festival. Online promotions for Children’s day begin at the end of May and last through until the first week of June. Toys, clothes, food, holidays, and child-focused business make this shopping festival one of their biggest each year. Savvy marketers will know that more and more children want to choose how to spend their gift money, and so create special advertising promotions directed at children and teens with online credit to spend.
618 Shopping Festival- June 18
When Alibaba turned Bachelor’s day into Singles Day and the biggest shopping festival of the year, rival eCommerce platform JD decided to make a festival of their own. Their invention was 618 Day. This colossal shopping day is now second only to Singles Day in online sales with close to $30 Billion in sales in 2019. That’s a big day of mid-year shopping madness that only looks set to grow! Despite being a completely made up festival, 618 is now a sales day that most brands are now taking very seriously.
This traditional Chinese Valentine’s day celebrates the story of two star-crossed lovers and falls on August 25 in 2020. The story behind the celebration is somewhat of a romantic tragedy, but this hasn’t stopped retailers from making it into another essential shopping day for gifts of love. Many international brands are now taking note of this special shopping day. This year Prada launched unique heart-shaped bags for the day, and Michael Kors launched an exclusive capsule collection to coincide with this date. Handbags, jewelry, roses, and chocolates remain the big favourites on this shopping festival day.
Mid-Autumn festival is a thousand-year-old harvest celebration of the moon. Families usually spend time together eating mooncakes and sharing gifts to show appreciation of each other. Many Chinese also take this opportunity to travel. This shopping festival has become a time of travel package promotions, and sales of luxury travel accessories, as well as traditional gifts for family and friends.
October 1st National Day – Golden Week
October 1 is Chinese National Day, which falls within a week-long holiday called Golden Week. This week is now a golden week of sales and promotions by all of the big brands. Many offer lucky draws, promotion codes, and upgrade packages to their customers. October 1 and Golden Week are truly a golden time for retailers with over USD$202 Billion in sales for the week, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.
Participation in shopping festivals is an essential part of selling into the Chinese market. With a sale almost every month, it is a highly competitive market to sell in, but the potential for brand expansion remains high. Choose only the Chinese shopping festivals that fit your brand and position yourself in front of new and eager customers with money to spend. Happy Shopping Festival!