Welcoming the Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year is the longest and most anticipated holiday in the Chinese calendar. So it should also be the hottest season for eCommerce, right? Not so much. As a matter of fact, it’s the low season for retail and here is why. 

Traditionally, Chinese New Year revolves around family gatherings and human interactions. People travel back to their hometowns and spend quality time with their relatives. They will have dinners together, visit extended family and friends, go to parks, shopping malls, cinemas, and restaurants. It’s probably the only time that the majority of home computers are shut down in the country. There is also an important factor that affects the eCommerce sales in this season… logistics. Most of the couriers will take leave to travel home, so the expected delivery time for goods order via the web will take much longer than the normal next-day delivery. This is something that the Chinese consumer won’t accept.  Given this logistics slow-down, the majority of Chinese New Year eCommerce business happens during the weeks before, so that consumers can buy gifts to prepare for the festival.

The hottest digital activity during Chinese New Year is the use of mobile social apps. Social media apps, such as Weibo and WeChat are the hottest tools for younger generations to greet each other and share their photos during the Chinese New Year. Last Chinese New Year, China saw 1.33 billion messages in a single day, an 11% increase from 2012.  

Since this coming year is the year of horse, and in Chinese the literal translation of the saying “right away” is “above the horse”, popular Weibo and WeChat greetings for Year of the Horse include photos of all kinds of desired objects that one might want “right away”. From cash to homes and even soul mates, friends will send photos of these items to each other. The meaning behind the gesture is the hope that the recipient will attain their object of desire right away in the New Year. 


If you’re interested in learning how your business can prosper “right away” in China, reach out to our Shanghai office.


Join the conversation