How Traditional Chinese Holidays Impact Global Business

traditional chinese holidays

Traditional Chinese Holidays – like all holidays around the world – are a great way to celebrate traditions, culture, and life. As China is an important manufacturing country, Traditional Chinese Holidays impact global e commerce business in terms of production and delivery as well as service businesses who are affected by the de facto shutdown of China during popular holidays in China.

At the same time, Chinese Shopping Festivals are a lucrative opportunity for e commerce companies around the world to boost their business.

Take a deep dive into the Chinese holiday calendar with China Gravy and find out which opportunities and watch-outs they bear for your global business.

The Chinese Lunar Calendar (to Unterstand Traditional Chinese Holidays)

As the name suggests, the Chinese lunar calendar is based on the monthly cycles of the moon phases. In contrast, the Gregorian calendar, which is used by most of the world, is a solar dating system.

A solar year lasts around 365 days (the time it takes the earth to orbit the sun), whereas a lunar year (12 full cycles of the moon) is around 354 days. 

In China, the dates of several public holidays like Chinese New Year are determined based on the lunar calendar. Therefore, they fall on different dates every year in the Gregorian calendar.

Example: 2022 Traditional Chinese Holidays

As you can see, according to the lunar calendar, in 2022 Chinese New Year occurs on 正月初一, which is 1 February in the Gregorian calendar. The last day in the lunar calendar of 2022 is 21 January 2023, resulting in Chinese New Year 2023 occurring on 22 January 2023.

Traditional Chinese Holidays in the Lunar and Gregorian Calendar

Now, let’s take a look at the Chinese holidays that may impact your e commerce or service business.

A. Traditional Chinese Holidays

Traditional holidays are celebrated in Chinese-speaking regions with only Chinese New Year, Qingming Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival being public holidays in Mainland China and Taiwan in addition to patriotic holidays like China’s National Day and Labour Day.

In Hong Kong and Macau Buddha’s Birthday and Chung Yeung Festival are also public holidays in addition to Christian holidays and national holidays, which are different from Mainland China. However, in Singapore, only Chinese New Year is an official public holiday (as well as in Malaysia), where also Malay and Indian festivals are celebrated.

This article will focus on Mainland China when analyzing the most important Traditional Chinese Holidays and the potential positive and negative impacts for your business. Being responsible for a third of the global manufacturing volume and a significant market in the service industry, thousands of businesses around the world rely on China for their production. Make sure to stay ahead of troubles and be prepared.

These are the most significant Traditional Chinese Holidays that may impact your global business if you rely on manufacturing and delivering from China. In terms of local business, international B2B businesses also observe decreases in customers when China is basically fully closed during the holiday festivities, in particular the Golden Weeks, which is reflected in SEO traffic and PPC leads.

DateTraditional Chinese HolidayBusiness Implication
January/FebruaryChinese New Year (Golden Week)Factories and businesses close for 7 days; holidays begin 7-14 days before CNY; supply chain disruptions (delays, quality issues) may last up to 1-2 months after CNY; most important holiday in China
February/MarchLantern FestivalNo public holiday, regular opening hours for businesses
Beginning of AprilTomb Sweeping DayBusinesses close for 3 days; preparations may start up to 10 days ahead; third-most important holiday in China
Beginning of MayLabor Day (Golden Week)Only 1 day as public holiday, but businesses may close for 3 days
Beginning of JuneDragon Boat FestivalBusinesses close for 3 days
September/OctoberMid-Autumn FestivalBusinesses close for 3 days; preparations may start up to 7 days ahead; second-most important holiday in China
First week of OctoberChina’s National Day (Golden Week)Factories and businesses close for 7 days

Let’s take a deep dive.

Chinese New Year (春节 Chūnjié) – the Most Important Traditional Chinese Holiday

The most important Traditional Chinese Holiday is the Chinese New Year (CNY). It is known across the globe and also celebrated by Chinese communities around the world. Also known as Spring Festival, this holiday marks the beginning of spring in the Northeastern hemisphere. 

As this holiday depends on the moon, it is also referred to as the Lunar New Year. The Chinese New Year 

Starts at the first new moon between 21 January and 20 February. The festival lasts for up to 16 days and Chinese workers get 7 days off from work. 

With Chinese employees only having 5-15 vacation days per year depending on the duration of their employment and a generally demanding work environment, this holiday is a welcome and much-needed time for relaxation.

Impact of CNY on Factories & Local Stores

During this public holiday, all factories are closed and workers typically go on holiday for two weeks, often visiting their families in other cities and provinces. However, many factories and businesses shut down or limit their business 7-14 days before the holiday begins in order to provide workers with time to travel home and prepare celebrations. In fact, up to half a billion people usually travel within China during this period.

What’s noteworthy is that many migrant workers don’t return back to work after the holidays and stay with their families. This typically further impacts factory production due to staff shortages. As new staff is hired and trained, a slower production rate and lower quality are typical initially. At the same time, with high demand, prices may go up.

Moreover, after the factories closing typically mass demand from global businesses follows to make up for the time during which the factories were closed, causing further bottlenecks, also fueled by a shortage in raw materials. And if all this isn’t enough, throw in Covid-19 in the mix, and you can imagine the pressure of factories to fulfill their orders and satisfy their customers.

Manufacturing and production factories usually have their operations “back to normal” one to two months after the Chinese New Year holidays.

Most local shops and businesses are closed for the first two days with larger stores reopening from the third day of Chinese New Year. Smaller, family-run shops tend to be closed during the whole Chinese New Year holidays. This can further impact global shipping and delivery as well as service businesses that rely on local consumers as well as B2B services businesses that rely on their Chinese partners and clients.

Keep in mind that Chinese New Year slows down and impacts business in the Middle Kingdom unlike any other festival around the world.

CNY in 2022

After the year of the ox in 2021, which stood for progress through hard work and luck, the year of the tiger in 2022 symbolizes strength, success, and braveness. Chinese kids like to wear hats or shoes with a tiger image for good luck. The color orange helps to improve wealth and fortune, black aids career development, and blue assists with the pursuit of love.

Chinese New Year is typically celebrated with fireworks, parades (lion and dragon dances), decorations, sacrifices to ancestors, as well as giving red envelopes with money and other gifts to the family.

Lantern Festival (元宵节 Yuánxiāo jié) – important Traditional Chinese Holiday

Also known as Shangyuan Festival, the Chinese Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar. It usually occurs between February 4 and March 6 and marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. In 2022, the Chinese Lantern Festival will be celebrated on 15 February.

During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night carrying embellished paper lanterns, often in the shape of animals. Rice balls (Tangyuan or Yuanxiao) are typically eaten during the Lantern Festival. Chinese people believe that the round shape of the balls symbolizes family togetherness, bringing happiness and luck for the year ahead.

With the Lantern Festival not being a public holiday, businesses, shops, and factories have regular opening hours.

Tomb Sweeping Day (清明节 Qīngmíngjié) – the third most important Traditional Chinese Holiday

The Qingming Festival is also known as the Chinese Memorial Day. It is celebrated on the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, usually between 3 and 5 April. Celebrations may start up to 10 days before the actual holiday.

Typical celebration activities are visits to ancestral gravesites, praying and ritual offerings as well as visiting the family and cleaning the home. Qingming Festival is the third most important festival in China.

With only three days of public holidays, business may be limited and some shops may be closed, but the disruption is nowhere near as significant as during the Chinese New Year festivities.

Labor Day (劳动节 Láodòng jié)

Also known as May Day, Labor Day occurs on May 1st every year and is the equivalent to the international labor day. This holiday is a public holiday with most businesses giving their employees 2 additional days off to create a (half) Golden Week. However, usually, this additional time off has to be compensated by the employees.

Today, Labor Day in China is a cheerful family holiday, where Chinese people visit friends and family and attend events. 

Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 Duānwǔjié)

The Dragon Boat Festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, which is why it is also called Double Fifth Festival. This translates to early June in the Gregorian calendar. 

The Dragon Boat Festival is primarily celebrated in China, Hong Kong, and Macau. It commemorates the death of a famous Chinese scholar and is said to avoid bad luck which is associated with the date of the festival (the 5th day of the 5th lunar month).

The Chinese scholar’s name was Qu Yuan, who was a minister of the King during the third century BC. Qu Yuan’s wisdom was not welcomed by everyone, especially those in power. Thus he was falsely accused of conspiracy and sent to exile, where he composed many poems. Eventually, Qu Yuan drowned himself at age 61. Because many people believed in Qu Yuan’s innocence, they desperately searched for him in the river to save him. 

The annual Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the attempted rescue of Qu Yuan. Some people still throw cooked rice into water as a sacrifice and commemoration of Qu Yuan. Other popular celebration activities include boat racing, eating sticky rice, and drinking yellow rice wine. The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is part of the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Stores and shops are typically closed during this 3-day holiday, but business isn’t halted long-term as it is during Chinese New Year.

Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节 Zhōngqiūjié) – the second most important Traditional Chinese Holiday

This holiday is also known as the Full Moon Festival or “Chinese Thanksgiving”. It is a harvest festival that occurs on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, typically in September or early October. 

The Mid-Autumn is the second most important festival after Chinese New Year. People celebrate by enjoying meals with their families, lighting paper lanterns, and eating mooncakes.

In 2022, Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated between 10 and 12 September. This translates to a three-day public holiday where shops and stores are closed. Larger factories and businesses are not severely affected as is the case during the Chinese New Year celebrations. However, Chinese people start preparing for the festival up to 1 week in advance.

China National Day (国庆节 Guóqìngjié)

The National Day of the People’s Republic of China is a public holiday on October 1st. Another 4-5 days are added to the official holiday, making it a weeklong public holiday which is also known as National Golden Week.

Festivities, concerts, and military parades are usually held nationwide. It is typically a time of touristic travel within China with family and friends. Many tourist attractions raise ticket prices, prices of flights and hotel rooms are usually higher during the National Golden Week.

During this seven-day public holiday, almost all businesses, shops, and factories are closed or low-staffed. While the extent is not as grave as during the Chinese New Year celebrations, it is a holiday to keep in mind if your business relies on the Chinese market.

Golden Weeks (as part of Traditional Chinese Holidays)

Chinese New Year, National Day, and Labor Day (as well as Mid-Autumn Festival if it is near National Day) are paid holidays in China. The weeks before and after the holidays are often re-arranged so that workers and employees have more consecutive days off. These holidays are then referred to as “Golden Week”.

traditional holidays China

With Chinese workers and employees only having 5-15 vacation days per year and a generally demanding work environment, Golden Weeks are a welcome time to travel domestically – either to visit family and friends or to travel for leisure.

This is also the Government’s intention for the Golden Weeks, to boost domestic tourism and improve the national standard of living (through increased consumption), as well as allowing people to make long-distance family visits. Keep in mind that travel within Mainland China can take up to 4-5 days by public transport in one direction.

Tips for Your Business to Avoid Problems During Traditional Chinese Holidays

Traditional Chinese holidays affect e commerce and service businesses around the world. We’ll take a look at the implications as well as specific steps you can take to prepare your business.

E commerce Businesses

Here’s how global businesses, which depend on manufacturing and shipping from China, can prepare for Chinese New Year and other Chinese traditional holidays to avoid order and shipping delays. 

Supply chain disruptions include order delays or cancellations, price increases, decrease in quality, lost deposits, and more. All this can cause your e commerce business to have unsatisfied customers, and ultimately lose business.

1. Plan & Order Well Ahead of Time

Most factories and businesses do their best to prepare for holiday closing time by increasing their production before the holidays. As everyone is trying to rush in and get their orders placed and produced before the holidays, it’s best to prepare and increase your own order well ahead of time. 

In the case of Chinese New Year, this can be as early as October, also well before the Western Christmas and New Year holidays where typically your own business closes or can be reached only very limitedly. Your stock inventory and past sales together with a good forecast can be good indicators to increase your order volume accordingly way ahead of time. As this also affects your budget, smart financial planning is crucial. You can also consider building up your inventory ahead of time to prepare for Chinese holiday times.

In case you arrange logistics from China to your company on your own, keep in mind that ships often increase their freight rate before important holidays like Chinese New Year and may be fully booked. Be early and make sure that goods for cargo shipping arrive ahead of time at the port, so everything runs smoothly. This particularly affects Amazon FBA business models, where products are sourced from China and shipped to the Amazon warehouse overseas.

Consult with your supplier early on as they are experienced with your products and shipping and can best estimate which volumes they can handle and which delays are to be expected. If you’re unsure of the trustworthiness of a supplier, it’s best to work with someone who is reliable and whom you trust in the long run. A China expert like China Gravy can connect you with excellent suppliers in China.

Keep in mind that as all production comes to a halt during festivities like CNY, you won’t be able to even reach the factory, producer, or logistics company for the duration of the holiday, and in CNY’s case even several days or weeks before. So making arrangements well beforehand and allowing time for clarifications is absolutely essential. This also includes samples and quotations.

However, if you are working with new suppliers, be careful with making a deposit just before Chinese New Year as sometimes companies and factories go out of business and close permanently.

2. Implement Quality Management

As mentioned above, a drop in quality often occurs in particular after the Chinese New Year shutdown when workers have to be rehired. 

Having a good quality management system for your business ensures the satisfaction of your customers and your business success.

Service Businesses

Likewise, service businesses can face issues during the shutdown of China during the holiday festivities, in particular the Golden Weeks. Of all holidays, Chinese New Year certainly affects service businesses the most, and this is also reflected in SEO traffic and PPC leads.

1. SOS for SEO? Don’t Panic!

Knowing what’s going to happen may not make the results better, but it can give you ease of mind that nothing else is wrong and that you don’t have to embark on an excessive troubleshooting journey.

While it’s always a good idea to constantly improve your online portfolio and SEO scores, B2B businesses should be aware that during Traditional Chinese Holidays, and CNY in particular, you can expect a drop in SEO traffic. This doesn’t affect B2C businesses as much as most Chinese people are at home or traveling home long-distance and happy to shop online.

2. B2B: Consider Pausing Your PPC Campaigns

International B2B service businesses may be well advised to pause their PPC campaigns during Traditional Chinese Holidays, including some time before and after. If you continue to run your PPC campaigns, the CPC (cost-per-click) is likely to remain the same, but traffic and leads are likely to plummet towards zero. 

3. B2C: Take Advantage of the Holidays

With many people staying at home or with friends and family, B2C online business continues, especially when local providers like agencies are unavailable. You can continue your PPC ads to generate traffic and leads.

E Commerce AND Service Businesses – Mitigate Negative Impacts during Traditional Chinese Holidays

Regardless of whether you run an e commerce or service business, if you have partners in China, consider the following aspects to create long-term successful business relationships.

1. Build a Strong Relationship with Your Suppliers

Understanding the Chinese business culture and that Guanxi (关系) comes first, is the first step to successfully building long-term partnerships with Chinese manufacturers and factories. 

Be mindful of your partners’ holiday time and wish them a Happy Chinese New Year celebration. You can even consider a small gift. We have listed some ideas for you below.

2. Holiday Greetings for Chinese Partners

Season’s greetings for Traditional Chinese Holidays as well as small gifts are always appreciated in China – as everywhere in the world.

For Chinese New Year, for example, you can send your Chinese partners a simple message saying “新年快乐,万事如意!” (Happy New Year, all the best and success!).

Chinese Zodiac Signs

The Chinese zodiac signs (生肖, Shengxiao) are represented by 12 zodiac animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The zodiac years begin and end at Chinese New Year. 

  • 2022: Tiger (虎, hǔ): stands for strength, success, and braveness
  • 2023: Rabbit (兔, tù): luckiest out of all 12 animals, symbolizing mercy, elegance, beauty
  • 2024: Dragon (龙/龍, lóng): represents good luck, strength, health
  • 2025: Snake (蛇, shé): most enigmatic zodiac animal, representing intuition and wisdom
  • 2026: Horse (马/馬, mǎ): symbolizes power, beauty, freedom
  • 2027: Goat (羊, yáng): stands for creativity, intelligence, dependability, calmness
  • 2028: Monkey (猴, hóu): represents playfulness, wit, intelligence
  • 2029: Rooster (鸡/雞, jī): symbolizes punctuality and good luck
  • 2030: Dog (狗, gǒu): considered a promising sign; symbolizing the coming of fortune
  • 2031: Pig (猪/豬, zhū): stands for luck, overall good fortune, wealth, honesty, general prosperity
  • 2032: Rat (鼠, shǔ): represents new beginnings; ideal for new business ventures
  • 2033: Ox (牛, niú): stands for hard work

Chinese appropriate Season’s greetings that show you understand the culture can be composed of: the zodiac animal plus “年快乐” (Happy New Year). For example, appropriate Chinese holiday wishes for the year of the tiger are 虎年快乐 (Happy Tiger Year).

3. Small Gifts for Chinese Partners

In addition, you can consider a small gift as a sign of appreciation and to deepen your Guanxi. For Chinese New Year, you could send them a fruit basket or a basket of Chinese rice cakes (Niangao), tea, or alcohol from your region.

If you buy the gift locally and mail it to your partner (vs. using a local online vendor), wrap your gift in red for extra attention to detail. Make sure to check with your company’s anti-bribery policy to avoid unpleasant surprises.

4. Learn from Experience

As Chinese traditional holidays occur every year, you can learn from your own experiences and plan for the next Chinese holidays ahead of time with stock, forecasts, and internal information to make sure the following holiday season runs smoothly.

Now, let’s take a look at the Chinese Shopping Festivals to find out where your business can benefit from ready-to-buy audiences in the Middle Kingdom!

B. Chinese Shopping Festivals

On the other hand, Chinese Shopping Festivals are a great opportunity for local and international businesses to boost their sales. With almost one billion online shoppers, China is the largest and fastest-growing e commerce market worldwide.

Shopping festivals are a driving force to continue this growth. Shopping festivals in the form of large retail events – where brands drastically cut prices – attract millions of Chinese consumers.

DateChinese Shopping FestivalBusiness Implication
14 FebruaryInternational Valentine’s DayIdeal for beauty products, fashion/accessories
20 May520 Shopping Festival (I Love You Day)No. 2 shopping festival; ideal for luxury fashion and jewelry brands
18 June618 Shopping FestivalNo. 3 shopping festival; created by JD; ideal for upscale electronics, beauty, and fashion
Mid AugustQixi Festival (Chinese Valentine’s Day)Ideal for love-related products and upscale brands
18 August818 Shopping FestivalCreated by Suning; ideal for electronics
9 SeptemberDouble 9 Shopping FestivalCreated by Alibaba; festival period 1-9 September; ideal for alcohol brands and related products
11 NovemberDouble 11 Shopping Festival (Singles’ Day)No. 1 shopping festival; created by Alibaba; festival period 1-11 November; ideal for self-care and luxury/beauty products; heavily KOL/livestreaming driven
Last Friday in NovemberInternational Black FridayRuns from late November to early December; ideal for foreign beauty and electronics brands
12 DecemberDouble 12 Shopping FestivalCreated by Alibaba; ideal for self-care and luxury/beauty brands, consumer electronics, food; ideal to attract Christmas shoppers

Let’s take a closer look.

International Valentine’s Day

While 14 February is the Western or international Valentine’s Day, there are also the 520 Shopping Festival (I Love You Day) and the Qixi Festival to celebrate Valentine’s Day in China. 

Nonetheless, 14 February is also celebrated among couples in China, who absolutely love love. Most popular besides flowers are beauty products, fashion and accessories. 

520 Shopping Festival

The 520 Shopping Festival is the second, unofficial Valentine’s Day in China, after Qixi. In Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation of “520” (五二零) sounds similar to “I love you” (我爱你), giving the Shopping Festival its name.

After Singles’ Day, the “I Love You Day” is the second-largest shopping festival in China. It is ideal for luxury brands in the fashion and jewelry sectors. The best-performing international brands in the last few years include Cartier, Michael Kors, and Givenchy.

618 Shopping Festival

The 618 Shopping Carnival originally started as a celebration for the foundation of the e commerce giant JD. Since then, it has evolved into a shopping frenzy comparable to Alibaba’s Singles’ Day. 

In 2020, the 618 Shopping Festival generated 2.4 trillion USD (mostly on Tmall and JD), making it one of the largest shopping events in the world. 

Most larger international brands participate in the 618 Shopping Festival, including Dyson, Panasonic, Nestlé, Boss, Apple, and IKEA.

Brands continue to come up with smart ways to mitigate the purchasing effects of the global Covid-pandemic. In 2020, home furniture brand IKEA created a 3D virtual shopping tour on Tmall especially for the 618 Shopping Festival, which was an absolute sales hit. 

Ideal e commerce marketing tools are heavy discounts, free shipping, livestreaming, and collaborating with influencers. Start securing your KOL influencers as soon as April to get the ideal person to promote your brand.

Qixi Festival

This festival is one of China’s answers to Valentine’s Day. It is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese calendar.

Qixi Festival is a huge retail event, with the best performing global brands being Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Dior, Prada, and so on.

818 Shopping Festival

The 818 Fever Shopping Festival was created by, one of the largest online retailers in China, and the top online marketplace in China for electronics. Home appliances, smartphones, and other consumer electronics are discounted up to 50% for this festival. In response to Suning’s promotion, Tmall and JD also launched back-to-school sales campaigns and exclusive discounts for this festival.

To give you an example of the purchasing power, in 2019, the overall sales volume of home appliances on Suning during the 818 Shopping Festival exceeded 154 million USD in just 1.5 minutes.

Double 9 Shopping Festival

Launched only in 2016 by Alibaba, sales of alcohol soar during the festival period between 1 to 9 September. The date refers to the similar pronunciation of “alcohol” (酒) and “nine” (九) in Mandarin Chinese.

The first festival generated more than 290 million USD in alcohol sales, with a growing trend. Global brands like Lafite, GIV, Penfold, Santa Rita, and Mondavi are regularly participating in this event and increasing their sales steadily.

In China, drinking is a common social ritual with Baijiu (白酒) being one of the most popular drinks in the Middle Kingdom and the drink of choice for business dinners. 

Baijiu is a high-percentage schnapps (35%-60%) that is made from sorghum (a grain) together with a starter called Jiuqu. “Jiu” stands for alcohol and “qu” for koji, a fungus that is also used to make soy sauce, miso, and sake. The most popular Chinese Baijiu brand is “Maotai”.

Double 11 Shopping Festival

Singles’ Day (光棍节, Guanggun Jie) or Bachelors’ Day was started in 2009 by Alibaba as a joking response to couple and family-oriented celebrations like Valentine’s Day. Little did they know the original 24-hour shopping discounts and offline entertainment would result in a 2-week major global e commerce event just a little over 10 years later. In 2012, Alibaba trademarked even the term “双十一” (Double 11).

Are you wondering why Single’s Day was set on 11 November? In China, the one (一) of the date written in Chinese represents a single person and there are 4 of them (11.11.) representing many singles. 

Today, Singles’ Day is THE Chinese retail event, with e commerce giants Alibaba and JD generating 155 USD billion in sales during the festival period in 2020. All major global brands like Nike, Apple, or L’Oréal participate in this shopping bonanza. Beauty items remained the most popular products, with Estée Lauder and Cartier being top performers in recent years.

Unbelievably, the Double 11 Shopping Festival generates more sales than Black Friday in the US. The strong shopping trend for Singles’ Day continues despite the global Covid-pandemic.

Start booking your KOL influencers in early September to ensure you get the best fit for your brand. Livestreaming is an ideal marketing tool for this event together with heavy discounts and a strong presence across major Chinese e commerce and social media platforms. 

Recently, Singles’ Day is also being introduced to global markets, including the US and Europe. This tendency can only be expected to further grow and expand, making it a great opportunity for e commerce businesses.

International Black Friday

You may be surprised to read that Black Friday isn’t just an American or international shopping extravaganza anymore. Chinese shoppers are super excited to particularly buy discounted foreign products through CBEC platforms like Xiaohongshu (RED), JD Worldwide, or Tmall Global. 

Xiaohongshu, which is particularly popular among young women, has adapted Black Friday to “Red Friday” as a play on its name. Sales campaigns typically run between late November and early December, although the actual Black Friday is on the last Friday in November. Other online marketplaces prefer Black Friday promotions in the form of limited deals instead of heavy discounts.

Black Friday typically marks the start of the Christmas shopping season with heavy discounts and extra opening hours for physical retailers. Brands can stand out online with exclusive offers and social media promotion – the noisier and disruptive, the better in this case.

Double 12 Shopping Festival

The last shopping festival of the year is the Double 12 Shopping Festival, launched by Alibaba to extend the success of the Double 11 Festival. The Alibaba platforms Tmall and Taobao typically host a year-end sale.

It’s a great festival to attract Christmas shoppers, although sales are not as impressive as on Singles’ Day, but still astronomic. Popular brands are in the luxury/beauty sector like Lancôme, consumer electronics from Dyson, Nintendo, and the likes, as well as food products.

Tips for Your Business

So, how can your international brand take advantage of the Chinese Shopping Festivals to increase your sales? Knowing about Chinese Shopping Festivals is one thing, but making them work in your favor is another story.

E commerce businesses can benefit from the ready to buy audience:

1. Promote Your Products

Use shopping discounts, promotions like free shipping, free gifts, limited editions, and more to promote your products on Chinese e commerce platforms. You can easily get started with CBEC platforms like Tmall Gobal or JD Worldwide.

2. Tailor Your Campaign to the Shopping festival

Make sure the campaign fits your brand, product, and target market. For example, Singles Day is ideal for self-care products and luxury/beauty goods while the 618 Shopping Festival is more suitable for upscale electronics and fashion brands.

3. Advertise Your Discounts

Advertise your shopping festival discounts on your Chinese website and social media channels by implementing search engine marketing (SEO, PPC) together with social media marketing. 

Make sure to directly set links to the discounted products or special items and launch the campaigns at least one month prior to the festival. As “walled gardens” (closed platforms) are lifted during this time, links can be shared across all platforms, including competitors, e.g. Alibaba and JD.

4. Collaborate with Influencers

Work with KOL/KOC influencers or Wanghong and secure their collaboration two months in advance to get your ideal brand representative. These influencers will advertise your brand and products on popular Chinese social media and e commerce platforms through livestreaming and other promotions. 

Influencers can also help your brand to stand out through viral hashtags to increase sales and brand awareness. Give the influencer you are partnering with an exclusive discount to increase the sales of your products, especially during Singles Day, which is heavily driven by social media and KOL livestreaming. Remember to work with an influencer who is relevant to your audience, and has a proven track record of generating sales.

5. Consider O2O Promotions

To leverage the full potential of Chinese Shopping Festivals, consider cross-promoting your brand online-to-offline if you have a physical presence in the Middle Kingdom for your own brand or through partners. 

Limited time offers and same-day discounts capture the audiences’ attention and ensure that you meet your customers everywhere they shop, whether online or offline.

6. Offer Chinese Payment Options

When promoting your international brand on Alibaba platforms or Chinese social media channels, make sure to have easy and comfortable payment options ready for your customers, including AliPay and WeChat Pay.

A China expert like China Gravy can help you to get started with planning your online campaigns including booking influencers to lift the remarkable potential of the Chinese Shopping Festivals.

Get started ahead of the game as more and more online platforms create their own shopping festivals in order to replicate the huge success of the existing ones.

Summary of Traditional Chinese Holidays & Shopping Festivals

To sum it up, let’s take a look at the most important Traditional Chinese Holidays as well as the most significant Shopping Festivals.

DateTraditional Chinese Holiday/ Chinese Shopping Festival
January/FebruaryChinese New Year (Golden Week)
February/MarchLantern Festival
14 FebruaryInternational Valentine’s Day
Beginning of AprilTomb Sweeping Day
Beginning of MayLabor Day (Golden Week)
20 May520 Shopping Festival (I Love You Day)
Beginning of JuneDragon Boat Festival
18 June618 Shopping Festival
Mid AugustQixi Festival (Chinese Valentine’s Day)
18 August818 Shopping Festival
9 SeptemberDouble 9 Shopping Festival
September/OctoberMid-Autumn Festival
First week of OctoberChina’s National Day (Golden Week)
11 NovemberDouble 11 Shopping Festival (Singles’ Day)
Last Friday in NovemberInternational Black Friday
12 DecemberDouble 12 Shopping Festival

With this, we have reached the end of this article.

Traditional Chinese Holidays & Shopping Festivals – The Takeaway

Traditional Chinese Holidays, as well as Chinese Shopping Festivals, are an integral part of everyday life. 

Traditional holidays serve as a way to extend the few vacation days that Chinese employees have and are used for domestic travel to visit family and friends, eat, and celebrate together. Global brands that rely on production and logistics from China should prepare themselves early on for Chinese holidays, especially for Chinese New Year, to avoid order delays/cancellations, price increases, drops in quality, and more. Service businesses should not be alarmed by a drop in SEO performance or PPC leads during this time, in particular, B2B businesses.

Shopping festivals are a welcome opportunity for Chinese people to take advantage of heavy discounts and promotions, limited items, offline events, and more. Depending on the festival, popular products include consumer electronics, luxury and beauty brands, as well as fashion and jewelry brands. International brands have a unique opportunity to increase sales via China Shopping Festivals.

While China’s e commerce market has ample opportunities for international businesses to introduce their brand to the market or boost their existing brand presence, it is also highly competitive. A smart marketing strategy allows brands to navigate this landscape with ease and reach their target consumers.

Take your global brand to the next level by lifting the potential of Chinese Shopping Festivals while mitigating the risks of supply chain disruptions during Traditional Chinese Holidays.

Contact China Gravy today to get started with your FREE consultation.

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