Christmas is so over. Focus on the New Year or lose out.

Christmas is done. It’s over. There is no more time for planning. Execution is (well it better be) in full flow. It’s time for marketers to turn their planning heads to the New Year.  And I don’t mean the 1st January 2018. I mean 16th February. Chinese New Year (CNY) to be exact.

You don’t have to be active in the Chinese market to make the most of the CNY opportunity either. Every brand should be thinking about the Chinese consumer that will be over in the UK; in Europe; in America; everywhere but China.

Some 6.15 million Chinese travelled abroad with 25% making up the total inbound tourists to the UK in 2016. They love to shop, especially at Chinese New Year. The weaker pound has seen upwards of 25% spend on duty free sales. There is a huge opportunity to capture this consumer group, who buy a lot before returning home for CNY.

But they are also rarely anywhere near Facebook and Twitter. Unsurprisingly, they stick to their Weibo (361m active users) and WeChat (902m active users) networks.  2017 has seen the rollout of Location Based Advertising outside of China, allowing brands to specifically target the Chinese consumer outside the country.

Networks where they can spend money through mobile payments is an essential part of the social culture. 87% of tier 1-3 consumers used mobile payments in 2017and this year has seen the official launch of WeChat Pay in the UK. This makes these channels your brand priority for sales in February next year.

So what are the most salient points to bear in mind when planning. Our partners, Emerging communications, shared their insight so we can give you some excellent tips…

Plan for more than a day or two

CNY is also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, it falls on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month of the calendar and lasts until the 15th day of the 1st month which is known as the Lantern Festival. However, many families will prepare for the festival days and weeks in advance.

This means your campaign should stretch across roughly 8-10 weeks and peak well before New Year’s Day.

Gifts have meaning and you need to be careful

Some gifts are just not suitable for CNY. Mostly these will be products that sound like unlucky / ominous words in Chinese, or ones which symbolise the cutting/ ending or parting of a relationship. This includes sharp objects, sets of 4 (such as glasses), handkerchiefs. mirrors and umbrellas!

The most common gifts are Alcohol, cigars and cigarettes, make-up, skin care and fragrances. The usual purses, hand bags and clothing (in red, gold, silver and other bright colours) do very well, and there is also a penchant for tea and tea drinking accessories!

You can find more traditional and popular gifts at

Get that creative spot on

The CNY is packed with symbolism. From ‘fortune’ signs to word-play couplets. Flowers have meanings too with plum and peach blossoms, orchids and peonies all meaning more than just the flower.shutterstock_356449088

Emotional video campaigns have proven extremely effective at targeting overseas Chinese. In fact, video is very powerful across the social channels. On Wiebo alone, daily video views reach 2 Billion a day – it seems that short video is the way to go.

Grab those students

Chinese students make up the largest international student group (35%). They spend 115% more than British students. Moreover, they have tremendous influence amongst the expats and Chinese back home. They often go home for CNY and they rarely go empty handed. Better still they are often asked by friends and connections to buy something from ‘England’ and according to the FT, these ‘agent purchase’ make up 12% of all duty-free shopping.

It is clear there is a core target market worth considering for consumer sales next year. It is also clear that there needs to be a strong plan. One that focuses on culture, Chinese social media channels and one that understands the nuances of the Chinese New Year. That’s a lot of planning. So, whilst we might be in the midst of Holiday celebrations, now is the time to look at the opportunities to target the Chinese abroad.

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