As Chinese New Year quickly approaches, luxury retailers, hotels, and restaurants across the world are rolling out promotions that show China’s biggest holiday has become a solidly global affair thanks to an ever-growing number of outbound Chinese tourists.
At Bloomingdale’s locations across the United States, for example, Chinese shoppers can take part in a special “red envelope” giveaway promotion in which they’ll have the chance to win a Year of the Ram tote bag, beauty promotions, dining discounts, savings at the store’s fur salon, or gift cards worth either $8, $88, or $888—auspicious amounts since eight is lucky in Chinese culture. The retailer is also featuring holiday decorations and shop displays with gift ideas including a limited-edition reusable “Little Ram Bag” inspired by Bloomingdale’s iconic Brown Bag, limited-edition Godiva’s Year of the Ram chocolate sets, candles, and a limited-edition Clarisonic skin-cleansing device. The stores will be featuring special-edition Chinese New Year items by brands including Diane von Furstenberg, Baccarat, Chloe, Fendi, John Hardy, Lalique, Maximilian Fur, MCM, Moncler, Salvatore Ferragamo, SK-II, Tissot, and YSL.
As Chinese consumers travel abroad in record numbers and shopping for luxury brands takes place mostly outside of mainland China, Chinese New Year promotions have become just as important outside the country as inside. Chinese tourists took an estimated 109 million international trips in 2014, marking an increase of 11 percent year-on-year. A recent Bain study found that 70 percent of all luxury goods bought by Chinese consumers in 2014 were purchased outside the mainland or through daigou agents.
Promotions aimed at Chinese travelers for the holiday period are just as important for hoteliers. The Peninsula is tapping into its Chinese heritage for its annual Chinese New Year festivities across the world, which include seasonal decorations, holiday menus, lion dances, music, and a bespoke Chinese New Year shopping package with a holiday gift. In Dubai, Jumeirah is hosting Chinese New Year celebrations that include kung fu shows, Chinese music, a Chinese-themed barbecue, and bespoke Chinese New Year cakes. Hotels in Asian destinations are especially getting into the Chinese New Year spirit thanks to their heavy concentration of Chinese visitors. Thailand’s luxury Sireeampan Boutique Resort & Spa is featuring a Chinese New Year “Parade of Luxuries” celebration with “good luck gift” giveaways, a Year of the Sheep tasting menu, and Spring Festival turndown amenities with a new gift every day, including floral bath salts in a red satin sachet, a handmade cotton ‘sheep’ key ring, and red envelopes filled with chocolates or treats.
Meanwhile, high-end Chinese restaurants outside of China are also getting into the spirit. Hakkasan in London is offering a special Chinese New Year signature menu with dishes including spicy lamb lupin wrap, a dim sum platter, and golden fried soft-shell crab with red chili and curry. Guests also have the opportunity to hang their wishes on a traditional Chinese New Year “Wishing Tree,” and those who order from the holiday menu will receive a red envelope with a free drink.
Of course, these seasonal promotions receive a major boost when luxury businesses also have year-round amenities for Chinese customers in place, including Mandarin-speaking staff and acceptance of Chinese payment methods such as UnionPay. For example, Bloomingdale’s now has 193 Chinese-speaking staff worldwide, as well as Chinese-language directories and welcome guidebooks.
Chinese New Year promotions can also have long-lasting benefits for international retailers now that it’s becoming increasingly easy for Chinese consumers to place international orders. The launch of Alipay’s ePass in October 2014 allowed Chinese online shoppers to order directly from Bloomingdale’s U.S. online shop, meaning that Chinese travelers who are impressed with the store while traveling for Chinese New Year have the opportunity to keep shopping when they return to China.