Lunar New Year Marketing: What This Shopping Season Means for Retailers

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, has long been synonymous with shopping across China and southeast Asia. The holiday is also growing globally. For the 1.5 billion people who celebrate, Lunar New Year is centered around embracing luck and prosperity with family. Falling typically between January 20 and February 21, the holiday involves celebrations over multiple days, the details of which depend on the culture celebrating. As people focus on renewal and celebration, they increase spending on food, new clothing, gifts, and travel. For this reason, many retailers develop Lunar New Year marketing campaigns, shopping events, and limited edition Lunar New Year products featuring that year’s zodiac animal.

February 10, 2024 marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, the fifth sign in the Chinese zodiac calendar based on a 12-year cycle. 

Lunar New Year marketing and luxury

One way to celebrate Lunar New Year is by treating oneself or a loved one to luxury items. This can include high end clothing, accessories, or jewelry. Many luxury brands release limited edition products or capsule collections around the year’s zodiac animal or the Lunar New Year in general. This year, iconic brands like Fendi, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Charlotte Tilbury, and Prada released collections around the Year of the Dragon. Special packaging and gift sets are also popular. 

With or without a capsule collection, Lunar New Year is one of the top luxury brand marketing moments. China’s luxury market is one of the largest and most influential, despite setbacks seen in 2022, according to research from Bain & Company. The report highlights China’s large middle and high income consumer base, which are projected to double in size by 2030. Lunar New Year isn’t just a marketing opportunity for luxury retail, however. Luxury travel and experiences are also coveted ways to celebrate Lunar New Year with loved ones. 

AI-optimized Lunar New Year digital marketing examples 

Persado’s retail customers run Lunar New Year digital marketing campaigns using Persado Motivation AI, an enterprise Generative AI solution that creates engaging, on-brand copy at scale, that inspires customers to take action. Our knowledge base contains 10+ years of conversion data from Fortune 500 campaigns, ensuring that our retail-focused marketing content uses the words and phrases most likely to engage. It’s the only specialized marketing LLM designed for value-based outcomes. 

Below are examples of AI-optimized subject lines that drove the most conversions for three separate prior Lunar New Year retail campaigns. It’s not surprising that two out of the three winning variants featured a personal narrative around celebration. The promise of a new offering in the description also appeared in two of the three AI-generated campaigns. While the emotions of each subject line varied, all evoked feelings of warmth and fresh starts. 

AI-generated email marketing subject lines from Persado Lunar New Year marketing campaigns in retail

Enterprise brands can instantly generate the highest-performing on-brand digital marketing messaging across digital channels and industries with Persado Essential Motivation. This self-serve GenAI solution leverages the Motivation AI knowledge base and LLM, and features accurate performance predictions to help marketers select the best message option. Other features include enterprise security, brand voice compliance, and more than 40 integrations with top martech solutions to easily bring messaging to market and report on results. 

Lunar New Year marketing strategies for retailers 

Retailers can embrace the festive season of Lunar New Year. However, it’s important that brands approach the holiday with cultural sensitivity and respect for animal welfare. Since many of the zodiac signs represent real animals, some of which are endangered (i.e. the tiger), it’s also important that brands don’t misuse or abuse literal animals in creating their campaigns. When it comes to cultural sensitivity, it’s important that brands do their research before launching a Lunar New Year campaign. Even small details like the wrong color, filter, or design element can break a campaign.

Here are 5 Lunar New Year marketing strategies brands can use to join the celebration: 

1. Festive window and website displays 

Retailers can celebrate the Lunar New Year season with festive window displays in stores and e-commerce website displays on homepages and other landing pages. These displays are a great way to feature Lunar New Year collections, gift ideas, and/or red outfits and accessories to wear throughout the festivities. Lunar New Year gift guides or outfit ideas are also valuable content to use across digital marketing campaigns and on e-commerce websites. 

2. Launch new collections and/or limited edition items 

Limited edition Lunar New Year collections and items are popular among retailers, especially luxury retailers. It shows that the brand is interested in the holiday and wants to be part of the celebration. Plus, customers who celebrate are looking for gifts and new outfits to wear to the celebrations. While capsule collections are popular among some of the world’s most famous brands, Lunar New Year is also a great time to launch a new collection or product in general as part of the celebration of newness and fresh starts. 

3. Themed packaging 

Retailers don’t have to change their products or come out with new collections to take part in Lunar New Year. Brands can also theme their packaging around the holiday and/or the zodiac animal of the coming year. While themed packaging doesn’t have to coincide with exclusive products or collections, it can be a great addition to them. 

4. Warm, wholesome, and celebratory narratives

Much like the end of year holidays in the west, Lunar New Year is about families coming together to celebrate. Campaigns centered around the holiday should be warm and wholesome. Lunar New Year isn’t the time to test out an edgy marketing campaign.

One digital marketing campaign that captured the magic of family reunions during Lunar New Year is Coca-Cola’s 2023 Chinese New Year campaign. It featured a heartwarming video animation of an adorable family of rabbits (Year of the Rabbit) coming together to make dumplings during Lunar New Year and overcoming generational divides. It’s these wholesome, happy narratives that capture customer’s imagination throughout the holiday. Video is also a powerful tool to immerse customers in the story and messaging. 

5. Promote prosperity by rewarding customers 

One of the major themes of Lunar New Year is prosperity. Share in the abundance by rewarding loyal customers with coupons, a free gift with purchase, or bonus points/miles.

Lunar New Year is an exciting and dynamic celebration. While much of its influence can be seen in China and southeast Asia, the holiday is growing in the US and the west as people of Asian descent celebrate their traditions and share them with their communities. When retailers join the celebration too, they make continuing and sharing Lunar New Year traditions more accessible. Plus, it’s an excellent market expansion opportunity that opens up the brand to new audiences. 

Start your risk-free trial of Essential Motivation and generate digital marketing messaging that boosts conversions across digital channels including email, SMS, social media, push notifications, and website. 

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