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Chinese e-commerce has become a phenomenon in part due to the sheer size of China’s population. International brands and retailers that want to enter and thrive in the Chinese market can benefit by learning about the country’s traditions and culture and how they may affect a company’s marketing strategy. There are a number of holidays and shopping festivals in China that foreign retailers should pay attention to: these range from traditional cultural celebrations to holidays adopted from Western culture to shopping festivals recently created by Chinese retailers and e-commerce platforms. Here, we discuss these important dates on the Chinese calendar and provide guidance on how international companies can best market to Chinese consumers during these special times of year.

Alibaba has turned its Singles’ Day shopping festival (officially called the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival) into an extraordinary success, and the event generates massive sales in a single 24-hour period each year. But most brands and retailers would prefer to spread out higher sales throughout the year instead of having Singles’ Day account for the bulk of annual revenues, in order to more evenly distribute the cost of operations over time. That’s one of the reasons other shopping festivals in China have been growing in importance in recent years, and also why retailers and e-commerce platforms have created many new shopping events. The table below lists important dates that foreign brands and retailers should consider as they create their 2019 marketing strategies for the Chinese market.

Key Festivals and Holidays for Promotional Campaigns in China in 2019

With 2019 almost here, brands and retailers selling in the Chinese market must plan now to ensure that their branding and promotional efforts are timed to align with Chinese holidays and festivals. We see the retail focus shifting from achieving an eye-popping sales figure in one day on Singles’ Day to distributing sales more evenly across the year via a variety of Chinese shopping festivals. Brands and retailers that understand Chinese culture and values, and that design specific marketing strategies for the market, will be better positioned for success than those that attempt to market in China the same way they do in the US or Europe.

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