Gung Hei Fat Choi
Feb 17, 2015This Thursday (February 19th) China will begin celebrating their New Year. The Chinese zodiac comprises of 12 animals, each of which is associated with particular personality traits, suitable careers, and lucky numbers, flowers and the like. The biggest holiday of the year, the New Year kicks off two weeks of celebrations - eating and spending time with loved ones. The myth tells of a monster called Nian who would arrive at the end of winter to ravage the countryside and kill the citizenry. To frighten him away, the people used bright lights, loud noises such as firecrackers, music, using the colour red to protect themselves.
Around one sixth of the world's population celebrates Chinese New Year, with the largest party outside China taking place in San Francisco. This is reflective of a growing population of educated, affluent Chinese in North America. With a diaspora stretching from Taiwan to Toronto and beyond, it is the most important holiday of the Chinese calendar, and businesses are taking note, tailoring product offerings to celebrants.
The festival sees the largest scale movement of people as they traverse vast geographies to join family. Red envelopes (symbolizing good fortune) are handed out, along with presents. This focus on gift giving shows the opportunity to retailers. Retail Gazette finds that about 25% of luxury goods bought by Chinese consumers are given as gifts, and over the lunar period last year, spend from Chinese shoppers' transactions averaged £765. Brands, particularly luxury ones, are becoming increasingly savvy, introducing products designed for the CNY. With a penchant for luxury retail, Chinese tourists are forecast to be the biggest driver of luxury growth, with an HSBC report detailing how spending will move beyond Hong Kong and Macau into Europe, Australia and the U.S.
Despite a slowdown in its economy, China remains a highly attractive market. With the Ultra High Net Worth (UNHW) population expected to see its wealth increase by US$80 billion, retailers would be well served by traversing the Great Wall.
The festival will see the largest movement of people, as around 2.8 billion trips are undertaken across geographies. For many, this can be a nightmare, but then we know a thing or two about logistics, and the rewards of effective delivery!