Not Celebrating Lunar New Year? You’re Out!
Here comes the ad of GUCCI’s latest capsule collection – a group of relaxed young people wearing Three Little Pigs-heavy apparels and enjoying luxurious New York lives in the company of their pet pigs. This picture, taken in a chic apartment near Central Park, is promoting the brand’s global collection designed for the 2019 Lunar New Year starting on February 5th. Guess what is the zodiac animal for 2019?
Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, is the most celebrated cultural holiday among 2 billion East Asians worldwide. The holiday is a two-week festival filled with reunions among family and friends, auspicious wishes and, very importantly, lavish shopping and traveling.
It has long been a tradition for brands in Asia to celebrate this festival. But now, Lunar New Year is evolving and going global, thanks to the significant spending power of Asia’s market and Asian Americans, as well as their growing influence in global consumer trends. Realizing the enormous business opportunity, brands are making devoted efforts for this season to delight, not just Asians, but trendsetters around the world who are hungry for cultural experiences.
This sub-context has set the tone for brands’ Lunar New Year products and campaigns – modern and trendy yet still revolving around traditional rituals to fit the festive spirit and need. Here are the six rituals that have commanded brands’ celebrations of the season.
1. Wear New Things
Lunar New Year marks a time of change and new beginnings (what a perfect excuse for shopping!). Wearing brand new things on New Year’s Day symbolizes forgetting misfortunes and welcoming good luck.
This explains why luxury fashion and accessories brands are among the most vigorous players of the season. Different tiers of luxury brands are aggressively engaging their target groups with exclusive designs.
While GUCCI plays chic vintage in its Year of Pig collection, Louis Vuitton enchants fans with cute and chubby piggy accessories.
For the rich, there is Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Pig watch in 18-karat rose gold and in a limited edition of 88 pieces.
For the young and trendy, Longchamp has collaborated with popular Chinese fashion influencer Mr. Bags to create a line of adorable bags and accessories. (Sorry, this collection has already been sold out in the U.S. thanks to eager fashionistas!)
2. Fresh up the Look
New Year, New Look. To be precise, a radiant and glowing look.
Beauty is another industry that is big on this season. Skincare and cosmetic brands and beauty retailers are gearing up to send out their most beautiful New Year’s wishes.
GIVENCHY’s beauty line is promoting these elegant limited editions on the home page of its official website in the U.S.
TATCHA, a San Francisco based high-end beauty brand, has launched a new brightening serum priced at $88. No. 8 is regarded as the luckiest number in Chinese culture with its pronunciation similar to the word ‘fortune’, and is frequently used in Lunar New Year greetings and celebrations.
Sephora in Canada has rolled out a celebratory promotion with a curated collection – brands’ Lunar New Year limited editions and products with a touch of lucky red in their packaging.
3. Enjoy Opulent Feasts
Just like Thanksgiving, Lunar New Year is the time for family and friends to gather over dinners, especially the feast on the Lunar New Year’s Eve which is the ultimate embodiment of reunion. These celebratory gatherings are certain to have an abundance of delicacies and good wine.
Food and beverage brands are the early birds in celebrating this cultural festival and have been passionately launching special merchandises in both local and travel retail channels.
Whether it is for self-consumption or gifting, premium liquor has always been a darling choice for wealthy and sophisticated consumers. This year, Hennessy has continued its collaboration with acclaimed Chinese artists for its limited edition. The design is filled with auspicious Chinese cultural symbols that together present a “dream of past and present, heaven and earth — the natural and beautiful cycle of life”, according to a statement by Hennessy.
There are treats for the sweet tooth too. Godiva has been launching zodiac-shaped chocolates for more than a decade and what’s refreshing to see is that Sugarfina, a trendy candy brand that is often labeled as the Tiffany of candies, is celebrating the Year of the Pig in the U.S. in the cutest way with strawberry flavor bite-sized gummy pigs!
Taking note the soaring popularity of Asian food and Asian chefs in the U.S., food and lifestyle retailers, such as Williams Sonoma, are creating special collections to help their consumers design menus and select themed décor for Lunar New Year parties.
4. Exchange Gifts (Including Money)
Gift giving, especially to children and seniors, is an essential Lunar New Year tradition to show one’s love and respect to family and friends.
LEGO’s Year of the Pig sets, family reunion dinner and dragon dance with figures in pig suits, have quickly become one of the most desired toy gifts for the season, especially for today’s Asian American parents who endeavor to foster their children’s cultural confidence.
Compared to physical gifts, another form of Lunar New Year gifting is even more rooted – money. Cash are packed inside a red envelope and given out as a wish for prosperity. Now, with the world adopting digital payment and China marching into cashless economy, what is more common (and actually more fun) to do is customizing and exchanging red envelops trough Apps at Smartphones – a staggering 688 million people worldwide have used WeChat Red Envelope during 2018 Lunar New Year! If you don’t know what is WeChat, here is a concise intro of this super app.
Do you know that Lunar New Year is actually the world’s largest annual human migration? With close to 400 million people traveling to home and 7 million traveling around the world for vacations, Lunar New Year is a golden week for global tourism. America is ranked one of the top vacation destinations, and Chinese tourists on average spend $7,000 per person during their stay in the U.S., according to U.S. Commerce Department.
More and more retail and hospitality brands are hosting themed celebrations to welcome both local shoppers and Asian tourists who are in joyful buying mood.
As the largest shopping mall in the west coast, South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, for instance, has put up store decorations, cultural performances and in-store promotions to attract the crowd.
In Universal Studios Hollywood, one will be greeted by Minions in traditional Chinese attire and a Mandarin-speaking Megatron, and can learn Kung Fu with the Dragon Warriors in an interactive show.
In Las Vegas, a 20-foot high jade coin is displayed at Bellagio Conservatory to wish people good luck.
6. Entertain and Have Fun
The joy of Lunar New Year is essentially for everyone!
For E-sports gamers, League of Legends is arming the pig-riding warriors with a set of electrifying Lunar New Year skins!
For families with young kids, there is Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year, a feature film co-developed by the producer of Peppa Pig, a famous British animation series, and Alibaba Pictures. For those who don’t know Peppa Pig – this pink piggy and her animal friends are like Avengers to preschoolers worldwide.
For classic music lovers, New York Philharmonic’s annual Lunar New Year celebration comes with a fiery program!
Savvy brands across numerous industries are capitalizing on Lunar New Year and engaging the aspiring global Asian consumers and beyond. The celebrations are indeed everywhere!
In the U.S., with Asian Americans being the fastest-growing group and shaping mainstream culture, Lunar New Year is no doubt an auspiciously promising business opportunity brands should not miss out. A smart Lunar New Year campaign creates a good impression and entrance, but what helps brands sustain a strong relationship with Asian Americans and stand out from competitions are continuous and meaningful engagement.
Curious to know how? Drop us a line. We wish you a Happy New Year, again!
Written by Selina Guo