How to capitalize on Chinese New Year as a sales opportunity

The Chinese New Year is fast approaching on February 8th bringing a huge retail opportunity for UK brands and retailers.

So why is Chinese New Year a retail opportunity?

To firstly explain the scale of Chinese New Year expenditure; last year mainland China’s Ecommerce orders were coming in so rapidly that Taobao vendors warned customers to order early to avoid delays. Many customers reverted back to shopping offline and in-store to obtain their purchased goods instantly.

It is tradition for elders to gift red envelope’s to younger family members containing newly printed money. As a consequence, the Chinese youth have money to spend and celebrate the New Year

There are approximately 250,000 Chinese in the UK, and Chinese visitor numbers at an all time high, brands should target their promotions towards sales for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

The number of tourists visiting the UK from China has more than doubled in the last few years, up from 89,000 in 2009 to 185,000 in 2014, making the country one of the UK’s fastest-growing tourism markets.

With visa regulations, numbers are set to significantly increase in 2016. is the main target for Chinese tourists, with more than 40 per cent visiting the capital, however, Scotland is also popular, with more Chinese travelling north than average among UK tourists. A VisitScotland report last year found that Edinburgh was one of the top five locations for the Chinese, as well as Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge and London.

With Chinese consumers now being the largest market for luxury products and services, brands and retailers within the UK must deliver their marketing campaigns commendably to meet this very discerning market’s expectation.

So what exactly can your brand do to capitalise on the lucrative Chinese New Year celebrations here in the UK?

– Be sure whom you are targeting. There are many Chinese shopping segments such as Chinese students based in the UK, Chinese tourists, and Chinese consumers in Tier 1-3 cities. Be sure who your target market is and plan accordingly.

Engage with Chinese shoppers all year round using Chinese social media platforms. Raising awareness of your brand is vital, so any tactical promotions can create a sales uplift.

– Run sales promotions/ GWP on Chinese platforms in the lead up to the New Year. Ensure that the promotion incentivises customers to purchase multiple products at the point of purchase. Ideally allow promotions to be redeemed in-store and online.

Promote online and in-store to truly stand out from the competition. This is the year of the Monkey and brands can leverage this in point of sale material, merchandising and window displays.

If you have brand recognition with Chinese shoppers, run a dedicated in store shopping event. Never underestimate how social interaction with your brand can create positive PR value.
Be patient. If China is a new market for your brand, don’t expect overnight results. Some quick wins you should consider are-

Make sure you offer tax free in-store. GB Tax Free supports its brands when it comes to targeting affluent emerging markets.

Offer China Union Pay in-store. Most Chinese visitors don’t have a Visa or Mastercard.

Employ a Chinese speaker in store or in-house to translate material and to sell to Chinese shoppers.

Have a dedicated Chinese marketing programme targeting your chosen segments, to build your brand and grow sales.

For more information on how to maximise your brand’s exposure to Chinese shoppers please contact us on [email protected]


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