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Retail
Published: 16 Feb 2018

Chinese New Year 18: Retail Trends

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From mobile app games to retail pop-ups, Chinese New Year (CNY) 2018 is full of inspiration for retailers and brands alike. We highlight some of the best.

Celebrated by one-quarter of the world, CNY is a hugely important trading period for retailers across Asia and tourist hotspots globally. 2018 is the Year of the Dog – prompting a host of canine imagery and influences.

Falling just two days after Valentine’s Day, CNY (February 16) sees Asian retailers and international brands operating in the region focusing on the New Year rather than Valentine’s Day. Retailers and brands engage consumers with pop-up activations, limited-edition products and interactive mobile campaigns to leverage enthusiasm to spend at this time of year. In China alone, total retail sales exceeded $133bn over six days in 2017 (IGD, 2018).

  • Interactive Mobile Games: Bringing together m-commerce, social media and personalisation, Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana has created a red envelope game on WeChat. To receive branded red envelopes, players click on red envelopes decorated with dogs in the game until they collect all six types of dogs.

    Chinese snack retailer Liang Pin Pu Zi has developed a mobile game app featuring a Chinese street market. The virtual street is named after the player’s family name and features three games. Each participant has the chance to win vouchers and cash prizes. See also Valextra’s Shoppable V-Day Game.

    Italian high-end brand Gucci celebrated a dog-inspired capsule collection with an interactive game on its proprietary app. Designed for the iPhone X, the digital dog characters can be animated with their own expressions through facial recognition technology, allowing the user to record videos to share on social channels.
  • Customisable Wishes: British luxury brand Mulberry is encouraging WeChat users to create digital calligraphy spring couplets – a traditional CNY decoration families paste on their front doors. Housed on an interactive web page, users can choose the style, background image, and a Mulberry item that they’d like to use in their spring couplets. They can share the resulting image on their social feeds to receive Mulberry red envelopes. See also Monetising Social Media, 2017.
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  • Pop-Up Redefines Traditions: Italian fashion brand Prada has debuted a temporary retail installation in luxury department stores and shopping halls in major Asian cities including Macau, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore and Seoul. Dubbed ‘Prada Spirit’, it resembles a traditional yet luxurious Italian café, featuring red velvet upholstered lounges, a central squared counter, display cases, a Perspex-decorated background, and small black tables set up for consultation. The pop-up doesn’t actually sell coffee, but instead displays the limited ‘robot dog’-inspired CNY collection, featuring pouches and keychains with playful Bulldog, Dachshund and Chihuahua motifs.
  • In-Store Events: American retailer Macy’s embraces the Lunar New Year festivities with in-store beauty tutorials by American on-demand beauty service Glam Squad, traditional lion dances and fashion presentations at its stores in New York, California and Hawaii. CNY-themed products are being sold across Macy’s beauty, fashion and accessories floors.

    Australian shopping mall operator Westfield (currently being bought by France’s Unibail-Rodamco) is putting a big push behind CNY in its two London malls. Both Westfield London and Stratford are offering free 30-minute workshops, enabling kids to learn a range of Chinese traditions straddling the traditional and customary arts of red-envelope decorating, fortune-cookie baking and tea-making, to money-tree seed planting and face painting. See also Brand Spaces, 2018/19
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  • Limited Editions: Gucci has created a special collection of dog-related items inspired by Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele’s Boston terriers, Orso and Bosco. The 63-piece collection features hand-painted portraits of the dogs across women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, small leather goods, accessories and luggage, and has bespoke packaging.

    German brand Adidas has created sneakers inspired by Chinese traditions. Models are adorned with the four Chinese blessings symbols (Virtue, Longevity, Prosperity and Good Health) and come in traditional white and scarlet colourways. They also feature an exclusive bamboo hangtag.

See also Chinese New Year 2017: Retail Insights, Retail: Valentine’s Strategies ’18 and Christmas 2017: In-Store Innovations.

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