Chinese New Year 2021: Three Retail Trends to Lookout For
With Christmas in the rear-view mirror, the next major retail event geared up is Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year. Falling on 12 February, the year of the rat will give way to the next zodiac cycle and usher in the year of the metal Ox in 2021. The Lunar New Year also marks the beginning of Spring which symbolises a time of change and new beginnings.
Associated with strength, cultivation and earnestness, the year of the Ox might be exactly what the retail industry needs after a tough and gruelling 2020. The Lunar New Year is not only a major celebration in China but is celebrated by various cultures throughout Eastern and Southeast Asia.
As a tradition, wearing new clothes is an auspicious way to ring in the new year. Local brands and retailers in the region are expected to have special sales and themed-collections starting January, while international brands will also be participating by releasing limited capsules exclusive to Asia.
Here are the three retail trends for Chinese New Year 2021:
1. A Traditional Resurgence
While contemporary iterations of Chinese fashion has been consumers’ go-to for years, a resurgence of the Qipao and Hanfu has gathered a strong following among Chinese Gen Zs.
The resurgence of the Hanfu, in particular, stems from a desire to reconnect with traditional roots as the outfit was once banned in China. Popular period or historical television shows have also helped to usher the Hanfu into the mainstream, cementing its popularity with the Chinese youth. Although not occasion specific, these traditional outfits come into the spotlight especially during celebratory events such as Chinese New Year.
In the lead up to the festivities in February, Chinese New Year-themed collections are typically launched three to four months in advance. Omnilytics detected a massive jump in Qipao new-ins in November and December at online marketplaces such as Zalora, Lazada, Shopee and more. The number of discounted SKUs for the style also increased in tandem due to year end and 12.12 sales.
Red and floral motifs are typically associated with the celebration, however, the analysis showed pink and blue Qipaos are gaining in popularity. Outside of florals, checks and polka dots were among the key patterns seen in this year’s collections.
2. Zodiac-themed Products
As Asia becomes an increasingly important market for the fashion industry, international brands have also acknowledged Chinese New Year’s significance in the retail calendar. Hugo Boss, Tory Burch and Coach have already released their limited capsules featuring Ox-themed products back in October, as detected by Omnilytics data.
The Chinese New Year period is also an exciting time for sneaker releases due to the mass streetwear following in China. Nike will be releasing the ‘CNY’ SB Dunk in early 2021, Jordan brand is also releasing a special CNY colourway of the Jordan 1 low. Adidas will be doing the same for its Ultra Boost range, while Vans took a more unconventional approach for its bovine-themed collaboration with Japanese retailer, BILLYS.
Expect to see more of the Ox on products as the festival approaches in February. In the past, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and more have released special Chinese New Year collections in the lead up to the festivities.
Also read: How do I Identify and Validate Uptrends?
3. Livestream Shopping Spree
During the height of the pandemic, store closures meant many brands had to get creative to connect with shoppers. Live streaming, an already rising marketing tactic in region, became the most effective method in amplifying the online shopping experience. With the pandemic still a factor in this year’s celebration, it is likely to be a ‘must-have’ in rolling out this year’s Chinese New Year campaigns.
If you are not already utilising live stream platforms, this Chinese New Year season is definitely prime time to try it. Earlier in the year, the number of businesses adopting the tool on Taobao’s platform jumped by 700%, the company reports.
Live streaming has been such an integral part of Singles’ Day success that it has even coined a new term called ‘shoppertainment’ which combines commerce and entertainment. These live streams are often formatted with a host introducing the products. Viewers tuning in can interact with the host directly via a live chat feature and even complete an entire purchase within the chat alone.
Although relatively new in Southeast Asia, live streaming is quickly becoming the norm. Pomelo, a popular SEA-based fashion retail platform introduced a live streaming feature on its app in February, where it regularly features shows promoting the brand’s latest products.
What to Expect for Chinese New Year 2021?
With the pandemic still looming over our heads, this year’s celebrations might be more modest than before. However, if the trajectory from Singles’ Day continues, brands and retailers should still anticipate strong demand for Chinese New Year next year, especially online.
Fashion consumption has rapidly recovered in Asia compared to other regions but the numbers are pale in comparison to pre-Covid levels. Getting the right merchandise will be key in capturing the market – all analysis from previous retail events this year have indicated that consumers are willing to spend for the right product.
Brands and retailers will also need to be cautious and culturally-aware to avoid any mishaps during next year’s festivities and connect with consumers authentically.
You might also like
Building a Competitive Pricing Strategy with Just Two Steps
To build a competitive pricing strategy in the current climate, retailers have to prioritise value over margins. The latter is central to the fixed markup pricing mechanism, which aims to boost profit by multiplying the cost of goods at a predetermined rate to determine the selling price. It is a simple and straightforward solution, especially […]
How to Validate Demand with Fashion Trend Analysis
For many years, the fashion industry has been set in its ways when it comes to trend analysis. In the pre-pandemic days, the inaccuracy of industry-standard trend analysis methods was not felt as deeply. But in the new consumer-driven landscape these dated practices provide an incomplete view of demand. Trend forecasting services, historical sales data, […]
Ways to Optimise Retail Inventory & Overcome Excess Stock
The threat of a retail inventory crisis still looms over the industry as no one can say for certain when the Covid-19 pandemic will end. For many, excess stock has been an issue since last year, when retailers had exceeding amounts of products while demand plummeted. The supply chain crisis also left Spring inventory stuck […]
Year-in-Review: Top Sneaker Releases of 2020
We return once again with the latest edition of our top sneaker releases in 2020. Despite experiencing the most turbulent year in retail, the streetwear and sportswear industry was one of the first segments within fashion and apparel to recover. This time around, we will not only be reporting on the most valuable sneakers within […]
Recovering from the 2020 Retail Slump: Three Strategies for Sales Growth in 2021
After a tumultuous year in survival mode, 2021 presents an opportunity for retailers to recover and maximise sales growth. 2020 was a challenging year for retail. Most retailers fell short from their sales targets and had to adjust their financial guidance. After a year of grappling with supply chain disruptions, inventory crisis and discounting ruts, […]
Bottoms Out, The Rise of Zoom Fashion
In a time defined by digitalisation, Webex, Zoom, Facetime and any other software supporting video conferencing has become our main medium of communication. Regardless of work or play, video is an integral part of today’s lifestyle and the way we present ourselves online is dictated by the 16:10 aspect ratio on most digital devices. Unexpectedly, […]