China’s national celebrations are growing in global importance

by ShopperTrak on 02-24-15

Last week marked the start of the Year of the Goat or Sheep – creatures synonymous with shy, mild-mannered personality traits. However, the impact of this year’s celebrations was anything but shy, with Chinese New Year making bigger waves globally than ever before.

The global spread of Chinese culture was certainly evident in images of New Year celebrations through the streets of London, Vancouver, Java and New York – to name a few locations – beamed across the world.

According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, up to 35 million people of Chinese origin now live overseas, making it the largest migrant group in the world. The United States, Canada, Australia and United Kingdom have all attracted large volumes of residents, while France is also a popular destination within Europe. But what does this mean for retail businesses?

Untapped profit potential, is the simple answer. Embracing growing cultural celebrations can significantly uplift store or centre performance, as those celebrating are likely to have taken the day off work, and subsequently may visit the shops before or after attending special events. This is especially likely during New Year festivities, when carnivals are held along shopping streets.

National holidays such as the Chinese New Year and Golden Week are popular times for travelling abroad, and it’s predicted that tourists from China will spend $155 billion abroad during the course of 2015.

In fact, a World Tourism Cities Federation study has shown that South Korea, Japan, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and the USA are the most popular shopping destinations for Chinese tourists – predominantly to snap up luxury goods bargains.

In order to capitalise on these opportunities, however, retail businesses must build customer experiences around their target audience. This means developing and marketing promotions ahead of key events such as the Chinese New Year, giving tourists the flexibility to pay in their own currency when processing card transactions – and potentially even employing multi-lingual temporary staff.

There may also be fundamental changes to shopping patterns during cultural celebrations. FootFall’s trends centre can help retailers and shopping centres to interpret and act on footfall peaks to optimise business performance, while our consultancy team offers bespoke support on a one-to-one basis.

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