The Chinese market is rapidly changing, that’s not a surprise. However, it still follows regular festivals and periods of time that every marketer in China should be aware of.
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These periods of time are particularly important when it comes to hiring a Key Opinion Leader (KOL), who acts as an influencer. It can take time to book one, which is why we give the recommended timing to recruit them, according to the period.
1. Promotion Periods
Besides specific days—like Mother’s or Father’s Day—Chinese holidays and festivals are rather universal and allow brands to launch promotions to their clients. Indeed, the Chinese are particularly sensitive to discounts, and it is important to know when is the most suitable period to offer them.
Since traditional holidays are dedicated to family gatherings, the Chinese don’t shop much over the holidays themselves. That’s why for e-commerce in China, the most important thing is to launch your promotion before the holiday starts.
• For example, Chinese New Year discounts happen from Christmas right through to Chinese New Year itself (usually end of January/February). Engaging social media Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) is the best way to tell your target customers about your sales, on platforms like WeChat or Weibo.
• The Chinese also have their own version of Valentine’s Day—Qixi Festival— to celebrate couples in love. Of course, Qixi Festival is particularly interesting for brands, because of the huge number of presents bought for that special day. “Western” Valentine’s Day is also a good opportunity for brands to launch promotions.
• The Golden Week in October is a seven-day holiday with a huge number of migrations, making it the highest season for tourism in China. This is a great opportunity to increase brand awareness and sales. It is therefore important to be prepared and to engage KOLs on Weibo and WeChat to post about your brand, and to share discounts and coupons to their followers.
• “Single’s Day” or “Double Eleven”, on November 11th, is a 24-hour super discount period initially launched by Taobao (Alibaba), and followed by all the other major players of E-commerce. It is comparable to Black Friday in the United States. “Single’s Day” has now become very anticipated and can lead to amazing results if you have a strong marketing plan.
• “Double Twelve” on December 12 has also become popular after the success of “Double Eleven”, to a much lesser extent though.
2. Branding Periods
Some holidays are not long and are dedicated to the family gathering, so buying is not a priority and branding is much more efficient than launching promotions. During those kinds of periods, many brands tend to focus on their online advertising and social media.
• Qing Ming Festival, Labor Day and Dragon Boat Festival are good periods for branding in order to prepare for the Summer Sales.
• Summer months are obviously crucial for travel-related companies. Thus, it is usual for hospitality brands to invite KOLs to experience and review their hotel, restaurant or attraction a few weeks in advance.
• Mid-Autumn Festival is also a family-oriented holiday. However, since September is a major month for new collections, it’s the perfect time for branding. The best way for that is to use Chinese social media, like WeChat or Weibo, and to include traditional elements (shareable GIFs, for example).
• Finally, Christmas is becoming more and more popular among the younger generation. Retailers can take advantage of gift exchanges by promotions and coupons.
To conclude, timing is key in China and every company should be aware of the major Chinese Holidays and Festivals as they can have a strong impact on your success.
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