Chinese New Year is fast approaching and global luxury retail brands aren’t monkeying around. Many are once again seeking to court affluent Chinese shoppers with their special-edition, zodiac-themed products in honor of the gift-giving holiday.
Stocking those products are top-tier department store chains like Macy’s-owned Bloomingdale’s, which has its own take on marketing during the festive season, adopting a multi-pronged strategy for giving Chinese shoppers a smooth experience.
Bloomingdale’s locations across the United States are offering Chinese New Year promotions that range from tourist services to art installations to capture the attention of both domestic and visiting shoppers as part of its annual campaign. The company is going into its fourth year of Chinese customer-oriented events in the United States, but this year is of particular significance as luxury spending by Chinese consumers grows stronger outside of China, while mainland luxury spending gets weaker. This month’s Bain & Company annual industry report revealed that there has been a 10 percent rise in high-end spending over the past year outside of the mainland. Last year, Chinese shoppers bought 78 percent of their high-end purchases outside of the Chinese mainland, according to China-based Fortune Character Institute.
These outbound travelers will have access to Bloomingdale’s in-store deals, which coincide with Chinese New Year gift-giving traditions. Select stores will have red envelopes available for all shoppers that contain gift card prizes in denominations of the number eight ($8, $88, or $888), an auspicious digit in Chinese culture. Some envelopes include special offers at Bloomingdale’s makeup counters, restaurants, and its Maximilian Fur Salon. Additionally, pop-up shops at select locations are set to feature special-edition Chinese New Year items by Beats by Dre, Marc Jacobs, Rebecca Minkoff, Godiva, as well as and Bloomingdale’s own reusable Brown Bag. Meanwhile, luxury brands, including Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Chloé will have Chinese New Year items on offer in Bloomingdale’s stores.
Bloomingdale’s is also among the high-end department stores around the globe catering to Chinese tourists by providing a shopping experience tailored just for them. In its New York, Chicago, Hawaii, Miami, and San Francisco locations, there will be staff on hand who speak Mandarin, and visitors will also have access to simplified Chinese-language directories and a “welcome guidebook.” The store is also providing concierge services, hotel package delivery, and personal shopper appointments.
Meanwhile, in China, Lane Crawford, the Hong Kong multi-brand boutique dedicated to an international array of high-end independent fashion labels, took a more design-centric approach to its Chinese New Year campaign, speaking to the growing number of young Chinese art collectors. The company hired eight international and Chinese emerging artists to create store window displays and installations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing that present a more contemporary take on the holiday. The creations range from papier-mâché to digital representations of the monkey, to floral wall art by a Chinese fashion designer.
Lane Crawford also combined the ancient Chinese tradition of calligraphy with digital modernization via an “Lunar New Year Calligraphy Creator,” allowing shoppers to send handwritten holiday greetings to friends on Facebook, Twitter, and email. The cards can be personalized even further with an image by renowned contemporary Chinese artists. If these campaigns are to set the precedent for what’s to come in 2016, contemporary art-focused marketing may need to be added to the list of trends in China’s luxury shopping scene.