In China, May 1st is celebrated as International Labor Day. It’s historically been a one-day holiday. This year, however, the State Council has extended it, increasing it to a four-day holiday from May 1st to May 4th, and allowing people to enjoy a four-day vacation (小长假). As much as this is good news to many Chinese workers who live on 996 schedules (working from 9 am to 9 pm, 6 days a week, a concept recently brought back by Jack Ma), this policy change has also boosted the possibility of new travels and increased spending.
Both short-distance travel within China and longer outbound trips, such as to Japan and Southeast Asia, are expected to be especially popular for this holiday, according to a report from Chinese online travel agency Caesar. It’s estimated that 150 million Chinese have already made travel plans, with the number of people, and domestic tourism income, will increase by eight and nine percent, respectively.
Following the government’s push to spur spending at home, and fluctuations in currency values, luxury travel retailers have especially taken note to stimulate domestic spending. Here, we look at three industry-leading department stores’ May Day WeChat campaigns, reviewing their strategies on marketing to Chinese shoppers:
The poster child of LVMH in travel retail, DFS, which operates in 11 international airports, particularly saw strong momentum in Hong Kong, in 2018. For their May Day campaign, we noticed that DFS demonstrated a high awareness of the current landscape, pushing Hong Kong specific services, such as, “friend pickup (好友代购),” where a customer can ask a friend who lives in Hong Kong or is traveling there to pick up goods for them. The popular service is available on DFS Hong Kong's WeChat Mini Program. A post introducing the service received more than 58,000 page views, with 352 people recommending the post, which shows a substantial interest in using this service. Knowing how digitally savvy Chinese travelers are, a week ahead of the holiday, DFS also released a shopping guide on WeChat. From April 26 to May 5, shoppers at selected locations, including DFS Hong Kong, Macau, Abu Dhabi, and Saipan, who spend a certain amount of money can receive surprise gifts from the claw machine. The post also featured special collections from Tory Burch, Estée Lauder, Caudalie, and others.
A major disruptor of retail in China, K11, prepared an art feast letting visitors “travel” without setting foot outside of China by transforming one floor of K11 into an airport boarding space, called Voyage, showcasing artworks from Chinese artist Zhang En li and Colombian artist Oscar Murillo. The WeChat post also recommended four special items to purchase and included information on a pop-up shop within the mall, featuring works by the Dutch artist Mike Frederiqo, who is renowned for creating luxury logos like Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, and Chanel.
For Chinese millennials, travel is not fulfilled without impressive photos. To carefully curate their social persona, gathering spots to “check-in (打卡)” is essential. The French department store Galeries Lafayette, on its WeChat post, depicted a fashion travel diary. Whether if you want to walk down on the Avenue Champs-Élysées in Paris, a peek at the top of Mont Blanc of Lyon, or a nap by the beach of Nice, Galeries Lafayette has a style for you. At the time of publishing, the post had received 1,1000 page views, with 63 people recommending it.