The Middle Kingdom is now leading the way in some consumer trends
Chinese New Year is upon us, and the Year of the Goat is bringing with it more evidence that Chinese consumers are starting to lead, rather than follow, some of the newer consumer trends we are observing.
Once upon a time, Chinese New Year meant a family gathering back home, with family cooking over several nights and several generations eating together, followed by a tradition where elder members of the family give lucky money in red pockets to the younger generation.
For many Chinese this will have been the scene this week. However some people are adapting the traditions and doing things a bit differently. Using our upcoming Consumer Trends as a guide, this is how the new Chinese are celebrating their new year:
#1 INSTANT – Lucky money going digital and mobile among youngsters
The lucky money that young people receive is increasingly digital, delivered into online accounts . This year the method has exploded in popularity thanks in large part to the e-commerce boom in China. It’s been used by e-commerce or social media businesses as a marketing activity to attract and retain users. Through e-commerce websites such as Taobao, social media such as Wechat or Taxi booking service application Didi that provide the digital red pocket service, a user can distribute his / her lucky money with personalised New Year wishes and digital red pocket to a selection of other users. Once it is distributed, the receiver can immediately check their online banking to see how much money they’ve received. They can spend it immediately on the e-commerce website to buy whatever they like.
#2 UPGRADE / CUSTOMISATION – Invite a chef home to cook the family reunion dinner
Eating out during Chinese New Year can be 3-5 times more expensive than usual. Cooking at home for a large family is not always enjoyable. Those who do not wish to go out and do not want to cook at home can invite a chef from a restaurant to cook for them at home with a fee of 300-500RMB. This year, the service is particularly popular in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. You can book an appointment with your chef through an app and decide the menu based on the number of people and their preferences.
#3 ACTIVATE –To celebrate the New Year, we don’t go home, we go abroad (and maybe learn something)
2 weeks before Chinese New Year, friends and family of mine have posted on Weibo their travel plans for the New Year. While some of them are going to Japan, Korea, Singapore or Taiwan, some of them are more adventurous. This year, my mother, who doesn’t speak a word of English, decided to “abandon” her family during the most important Chinese festival and go for a 9-day trip with her friends to South Africa.
It also seems like shopping, eating and sightseeing are not the main motivation to travel. Several friends of mine are taking the New Year holiday as a great opportunity to do course abroad and improve themselves – learning tea etiquette in Japan, a cooking class in Singapore, skiing class in Korea. And some of them are looking for an “escape” from the busy life and look for peace in mind by spending time alone without the family.