The shopping festival known as Singles’ Day in China may be the most well-known, but it’s certainly not the only event of its kind. Throughout the year there are many other shopping festivals on special days or national holidays making massive promotions to drive sales and reach a wider audience.
These shopping festivals are already rooted in the Chinese culture and have immense potential for high sales volume over a short period of time. They offer a great opportunity for brands to expose themselves to Chinese consumers.
Shopping festivals create higher brand awareness and generate traffic. Participating in shopping festivals in China is very beneficial for foreign brands. Since they want to get their products in front of more Chinese consumers.
What are the most popular shopping festivals in China?
Singles Day or 11.11 Shopping Festival
Every year on 11.11, Chinese people celebrate this iconic shopping festival which is the biggest of its kind in the world.
Created as a way for university students to celebrate being single, Double 11 has become an annual event due in part to Alibaba’s promotion. Some of the largest discounts of the year are expected during this festival. Promotions start at the beginning of November, with pre-sales starting weeks before.
For most brands, the Singles Day shopping festival alone has become the primary source of growth and massive sales.
The Spring Festival
Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China and also the longest and happiest holiday season, when most of the people meet with their families to celebrate new year. It happens according to Chinese lunar calendar, around January and February. It ends with Lantern Festival.
As it’s the most important holiday, domestic and international brands started celebrating it not only by posting wishes, but also offering many deals.
What is more, every year in China is represented by a different animal (from 12 zodiac animals), and many brands like to celebrate the occasion by offering special patterns, designs, products with that years’ animal symbols.
Valentine’s Day may have started in the West, but it has become very popular among couples in China as well. Many e-commerce platforms offer great deals on gifts for this special days (in fact, in China there are more than one day to celebrate love). Not only women but also men. The most popular products include jewelry, watches, accessories, cosmetics, and makeup products.
The Mooncake Festival also referred to as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is a prominent holiday in many Asian cultures that has been celebrated for over 3000 years. This significant event takes place on the 8th month of the Chinese calendar and occurs during a full moonlit night. Brands often customize special products or mooncakes for this occasion. And families and friends give each other gifts to celebrate the day
Below you can see one of GMA case studies – Lyfen snacks, with a limited edition packaging designed solely for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
618 Mid-Year Shopping Festival
The 618 shopping festival was first started by JD.com (as a contrary to Alibabas’ Singles Day). To start with, 618 was promoted as a marketing scheme but has since developed into a festival and eventually became China’s second biggest retail promotion event next to Singles Day in November as other e-commerce platforms participated, like Taobao and Tmall.
The shopping festival begins with a pre-sale in mid-May that provides an entire month of promotion, leading up to the main event on June 18.
818 Shopping Festival
818 is a shopping festival that is held every year on the 18th of the 8th month. It is created by Suning as a way to celebrate its anniversary. After its creation, some other major companies, like Douyin and Tmall, have followed suit and created their version of the shopping event. They turned it into a shopping festival. One important thing about this festival is, this festival has not yet gone global. Meaning there is potential for international growth and marketing ventures.
Double 12 or Couples Day
Couples day Chinese shopping festival, 12.12, is analogous to America’s Cyber Monday. Just as Singles Day reflects China’s version of Black Friday.
With only six weeks left in the year and Singles Day over, brands are hosting bigger promotions to get rid of their end-of-year stock products.
8th March Women’s Day & 7th March Girl’s Day
International Women’s Day is an annual celebration on March 8. in China that has grown into a shopping festival for many brands focused on female empowerment. Many e-commerce platforms promote campaigns to support this global theme.
In China, International Women’s Day is usually thought of as a holiday for middle-aged women, leaving younger women feeling excluded. So to celebrate being a young girl, some students created Girls’ Day on Mar 7th. Soon the movement became viral. Even if it is not an official shopping festival yet, giant e-commerce platforms are creating special deals and themed promotions for this day.
99 Wine Festival
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, declared that September would be a month for wine and alcoholic drinks and spirits sales. It is called ’99 wine’ because the number 9 is pronounced the same as wine in Mandarin.
Tmall offers great discounts on alcohol between the 1st to 9th of September. During this festival, both traditional Chinese alcohol brands, like Baijiu, and famous and international wine brands participate.
520 Shopping Festival
In Mandarin, the pronunciation of “520” is similar to “I love you” So May 20th is known as China’s I love you Day.
Though it is typically celebrated by couples, I love you Day also encompasses spending time with family and friends. Although its popularity fluctuates, it offers many opportunities for brands to sell their products using the romance and love theme.
Numerous e-commerce platforms and physical stores offer discounts on this romantic celebration day.
National Day Golden Week
Every year on the first day of October China celebrates its National Day in honor of the country’s founding in 1949. It is a national holiday that lasts for a week and it is called the golden week. During this time millions of China travel and shop.
During this special time of the year, brands give their customers special deals and promotions. In 2018, Xiaomi, the famous tech company in China, made a discount on certain phone models. This boosted its sales significantly.
From the biggest shopping malls to local convenience stores to e-commerce channels themed promotions are offered to the customers.
How can foreign brands cash in on China’s lucrative shopping festivals?
If you want to make the most of Chinese shopping festivals, you have to adjust your marketing strategies accordingly. Plan ahead, research well, and get to know your market and your target Chinese shoppers.
In the China market, Over 90% of shopping festival purchases are made through mobile phones
With the advancement of mobile payment, shoppers are increasingly paying for their purchases directly on the app. Therefore, optimizing the user experience and the purchase process on the app can improve the conversion rate dramatically.
Market your products on Chinese e-commerce platforms
Forget about your western websites. If you want to sell your products you have to utilize Chinese e-commerce platforms. These platforms control the majority of the online shopping market in China, and they have the biggest reach.
Develop an effective marketing plan and brand awareness
You will need to come up with an effective marketing plan for the Chinese market. This should include strategies to increase the visibility of your brand and products on the different Chinese e-commerce platforms, as well. To create brand awareness, the use of social media platforms, such as WeChat and Weibo, is essential.
Promote your shopping festival deals in advance
Attracting traffic to your newly launched brand on a Chinese e-commerce site is essential. To do so, you have to start giving adverts across marketing channels that correspond with any upcoming shopping festivals. Be sure to offer discounts on products you are selling in celebration of the festival. These ads should entice customers by specifically targeting the event and linking directly to discounted items.
Devise a marketing strategy centered around key opinion leaders
During China’s shopping festivals, KOLs can magically enable brands to stand out from the competition. To work with the right KOLs is essential and the best way to do this is by researching their past performances.
You can also check out the comments and reviews left on the products they have promoted in the past. Having a good understanding of KOL’s audience will help you tailor your message accordingly, making it even more effective during the festivals.
Want to start a shopping festival campaign in China?
We got your back. We can help you to stand out during the festivals by creating a powerful marketing strategy to reach Chinese consumers.
Our team has extensive experience in helping brands stand out during shopping festivals by developing effective campaigns.
We understand the importance of having the right visuals, the right influencers, and the right strategy to get the most out of the festival.
We also understand the importance of understanding the audience and tailoring the message accordingly.
Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us, so that one of our experts can learn about your brands and the needs you have. Let’s keep in touch!