China's top festivals for Marketing 2023

Top 7 China Festivals This 2024 [Marketing Calendar Guide]

Last Updated on February 9, 2024

The Chinese market is a complex business landscape to navigate, especially for foreign brands. However, beyond the nitty-gritty of it all, did you know that Chinese traditional festivals can open strategic opportunities to help you resonate with local audiences?

From the Mid-Autumn festival to China’s Valentine’s Day, let’s unravel how these traditional Chinese holidays can be a game-changer for your marketing strategies. We’ll explore the ins and outs of these special Chinese calendar events and show you how to maximize them for your brand.

 

Understanding The Traditional Chinese Lunar Calendar

The Traditional Chinese Lunar Calendar is a key part of China’s local culture and history. Its domestic significance makes it a valuable tool for your marketing strategies.

This calendar differs from the Western solar calendar we’re all familiar with. It’s a lunisolar calendar, blending both lunar phases and solar days. What’s fascinating is how this calendar ties together the movements of the universe, agricultural cycles, and China’s rich cultural traditions.

Understanding this unique calendar system can give you a deeper insight into the rhythms and traditions of Mainland China, offering a strategic edge in your marketing initiatives.

Using these holiday themes correctly during your Chinese calendar promotion can help your brand connect with local audiences. However, not every brand will match with all festivals in China, so it’s essential to understand the ones that work for you.

Some of the most popular events to consider during your brand promotion in China include the start of Spring (Chinese New Year), Qingming Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and Winter Solstice (Winter Festival).

 

7 Chinese Festivals & Holidays You Must Remember This 2024

1.   Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)

February 10, 2024

As a globally celebrated holiday, the economic impact of traditional festivals is most evident during the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year.

If you look at the revenue patterns during Chinese holidays, there’s no denying that the Spring Festival is the peak of consumer spending in China.

Besides enjoying dragon dances and fireworks, Chinese families often use this festive time to shop for gifts, decorations, clothing, and food to prepare for the annual family reunions happening on this day.

The Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) is the most important festival in China because it marks the beginning of the lunar year.

 

 

It’s an opportunity for marketers to host virtual events, such as live streams. These strategies can encourage consumers to engage with the brand and create a community within your chosen online platform.

You should also develop content that aligns with the themes of family, blessings, and renewal, which highly resonates with consumers seeking authenticity. Here are some of the Chinese New Year campaigns we did for our clients:

 

2.   Lantern Festival

February 24, 2024 

Unlike some traditional holidays, the Chinese celebrate the Lantern Festival for four days. This festival, often observed in the first lunar month, is known worldwide for its colorful lanterns and traditional performances. Locals also enjoy solving lantern riddles and eating sweet glutinous rice balls called “yuanxiao” during this event.

Many brands consider the Lantern Festival a good time for brand awareness since consumers will not pay attention to mainstream campaigns around this time.

 

Lantern festival China WeChat posters

 

Using social media platforms, foreign companies can launch interactive online campaigns encouraging user participation. You can check out our team’s work with Sennheiser to learn how SDG handles their Lantern Festival campaign and other online promotions for our clients.

 

3.   Dragon Boat Festival

June 10, 2024

Dragon Boat Festival offers foreign brands an opportunity to ride in the excitement of watching dragon boat races and eating zongzi within the country.

Through this, companies can resonate with these events, associating their brand names with the festive spirit of the Dragon Boat Festival. F&B brands can use this time to create zongzi-related products or promotions to attract attention and foster engagement.

 

Dragon boat China WeChat posters

 

Foreign brands can also capitalize on the growing online shopping trend and set up special Dragon Boat Festival-themed virtual stores on e-commerce platforms. This strategy makes it easier for consumers to discover festival-related products.

You can offer promos or discounts on products that align with the cultural traditions during the Dragon Boat Festival. These incentives can encourage Chinese consumers to look for special deals while celebrating the cultural event.

 

4.   Hungry Ghost Festival

August 18, 2024 (Sunday)

China commemorates the Hungry Ghost Festival on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar year. During this traditional festival, locals believed that the spirits of their deceased ancestors were roaming in the human world.

Unlike the Mid-Autumn Festival, it’s important for foreign brands to approach the Hungry Ghost Festival with high cultural sensitivity and utmost respect.

 

 

The festival is deeply tied to the ancestors and spiritual beliefs of the Chinese people, so any marketing initiatives should be carefully crafted. Try not to appear disrespectful or commercialize the event so blatantly.

For this occasion, brands can choose to create content highlighting family and heritage. You can add storytelling techniques to align your campaign with the festival’s essence and foster a deeper consumer relationship with the Chinese people.

 

5.   Mid-autumn Festival

September 15, 2024 

Although this Chinese celebration is also referred to as the Mooncake Festival, it’s a special occasion similar to Western Thanksgiving Day.

True to its name, the locals and tourists look forward to watching the full moon, spending time in family reunions, and indulging in moon cakes during the Moon Festival.

 

Mid-autumn festival China WeChat posters

 

Like the Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival can stir the local public’s gift-giving traditions. For example, despite the pandemic in 2020, the anticipation of the Moon Festival helped an LV store in Shanghai generate 150 million yuan (beating its previous monthly revenue of 80 million).

Since the Mid-Autumn Festival observed high consumer revenues over the years, new brands can adapt the trends in their promotional strategies to appeal to Chinese people.

Making marketing campaigns that capture the moonlit sceneries during the festival can evoke public nostalgia, which is a strong driving force for consumer spending.

 

6.   National Day

October 1, 2024 

National Holiday, also known as Golden Week, is one of the most extended holidays in China outside of Spring Festival and Lantern Festival. During this important holiday, Chinese people enjoy elaborate parades, fireworks, and other festivities.

With public patriotism raging at an all-time high, marketers can use this opportunity to adapt the event’s branding elements in their online marketing campaigns. They can utilize nationalistic themes related to Chinese pride to gain the public’s favor.

 

China National Day WeChat posters

 

It’s one of the most important festivals you must remember as it emphasizes traveling in and out of on the largest scale. We suggest getting creative with your promotions, like launching lucky draw campaigns, special product packages, or other travel-related spending discounts.

Launching marketing initiatives during such festivals and holidays can be a challenge. However, if you look at the Weibo lucky draw campaign that SDG launched with Lil-lets before Christmas, you’ll see that it’s very effective in generating audience engagement and impressions.

7.   Double-Ninth Festival (Chongyang Festival)

October 11, 2024

The Double Ninth Festival, or Chongyang Festival, is a traditional Chinese holiday celebrated on the 9th day of the 9th lunar calendar month. This celebration holds significance as it falls during the ninth month of the year, and the number nine (9) is deeply associated with yang energy and positive energies in China.

The Double Ninth Festival represents the celebration of health and longevity. Because of this, it’s an important festival to remember for foreign health and wellness brands. They can leverage this theme to introduce products that promote a healthy lifestyle, such as fitness equipment, health supplements, and wellness experiences.

Partnering with local KOLs with dedicated followers can also amplify brand reach and credibility. Influencers can creatively integrate the brand’s products into their Double-Ninth Festival celebrations, making the promotion feel more authentic.

If you want to know how KOL collaborations work outside important Chinese festivals, you can refer to our work with Lil-Lets. The brand generated over 300 orders and 220 reviews for a single-post campaign.

 

Other Notable Traditional Chinese Festivals & Holidays

●     New Year’s Day (January 1st)

While it’s not the most important festival in the Chinese market, the Western New Year Celebration has grown more popular with the younger generation.

As a time of celebration, city locals often exchange gifts and indulge in food during this time. Thanks to this, brands can find success in launching promotions or introducing limited-edition products that cater to the festive spirit.

New Year’s Day promotions and discounts can attract consumers looking for deals and sales. As you know, most Chinese shoppers are savvy enough to plan their purchases, so brands can use this occasion to showcase the authenticity of their products.

 

●     Mother’s Day

The marketing promotion opportunities to market on Mother’s Day are numberless. Your brand promotion can consist of marketing about things a mother might want or how the family can show mother appreciation. If you’re going to make the most of this day, you should start promoting 2-3 weeks before with emotionally inspired campaigns.

 

Mother's day creative designs for China

 

●     Winter Solstice (Dongzhi Festival)

The Winter Solstice, also known as the Dongzhi Festival, is an event that falls on the shortest day and longest night of the year. It typically happens around December 21st or 22nd.

Like other Chinese New Year, the Winter Solstice often involves family reunions and group gatherings.

 

●     Women’s Day

Women are the leading consumers of Chinese households, and Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate female empowerment. Males also line up nationwide to buy gifts for their loved ones.

It’s important to note that Chinese Women’s Day combines Valentine’s and Mother’s Day regarding gift giving. Campaigns across clothes, cosmetics, electronics, and relaxation do very well around this time.

 

Women's day creative designs for China

 

●     Double Seventh Festival (Chinese Valentine’s Day)

The Double Seventh Festival (Qixi Festival or Chinese Valentine’s Day) is a romantic holiday event that people in China celebrate on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.

This festival came from a romantic story between the star Vega and the star Altair.  It’s an event when couples exchange gifts and flowers, so expect consumer spending to skyrocket during this occasion.

 

●     Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day)

Typically, Chinese citizens celebrate the Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day) on April 4th or 5th.

Locals are expected to honor their ancestors by cleaning their graves, making offerings, and paying proper respects. Like the Hungry Ghost Festival, foreign marketers must approach the Qingming Festival cautiously.

Since it involves crucial traditions, we encourage brands to create content that educates consumers about the historical and cultural aspects of the event instead of using it as a commercialized strategy.

 

●     618 Mid-Year Shopping Festival

While not necessarily a traditional holiday from China’s lunar calendar, the 618 festival is an important day in the local consumer market. It’s a shopping event spearheaded by JD.com to commemorate its foundation on June 18, 1998.

Today, this shopping festival serves as the perfect time to boost sales and offer discounts to potential consumers.

 

●     Singles’ Day (Double 11 Festival)

Another shopping festival foreign brands can’t miss is the 11/11 Singles’ Day festival. It started as an Anti-Valentines Day celebration, which Alibaba adopted as a major e-commerce sales event in 2009.

Initially, the shopping event runs for 24 hours. However, as it became more prevalent worldwide, the online festival expanded to two weeks.

 

Double 11 China WeChat posters

 

●     Christmas Day

Christmas is not a traditional Chinese holiday but has recently become a famous celebratory theme among younger shoppers in China.

Based on local market trends, Fashion and apparel-related campaigns often do well around this time. If your brand falls under this niche, try to make your Christmas campaigns more creative and trendy.

You can check out our project with Yellow Tail for an example of a successful Christmas campaign.

The brand approached Sekkei Digital Group for help with its digital marketing campaigns in the Chinese market. Happily obliging their request, our team took inspiration from the appeal of their wine products and launched a Christmas Repost Activation strategy on Weibo.

Although the activation ran for only ten days, it clearly generated substantial buzz for the brand. The campaign gained 450 followers on Weibo and generated over 83,000 impressions.

 

Read more about how SDG helped Yellow Tail maintain digital presence in China

 

How important are traditional festivals in China? Do Foreign Brands Need It?

Chinese culture includes a long history and heritage that the whole of China celebrates in different ways. A huge part of it is the traditional Chinese festivals.

These events stem from China’s extensive history, often from religious beliefs and historical occurrences. These occasions give marketers a closer insight into the country’s evolution and help them understand the average consumer lifestyle and purchasing behaviors.

And since these festivals have an undeniable economic impact, these events can serve as marketing metrics for foreign companies to connect with Chinese consumers.

You can count on these events to present business opportunities, but the market competition between foreign and local brands is often fiercer than you think. Remember that standing out from the crowd requires strategies beyond typical marketing approaches.

 

Your Trusted Digital Marketing Partner In China!

Every traditional festival and special event is a chance for you to build brand awareness and drive sales of your product and service in China. However, crafting marketing strategies to resonate with these holidays won’t be easy for new brands.

At Sekkei Digital Group, we deeply understand the intricacies of the Chinese market. Leveraging our extensive knowledge in this specialized field, we can assist you in tapping into your brand’s potential and establishing a commanding presence during these important events.

 

Sekkei Digital Group Services

 

Whether it’s crafting compelling advertising campaigns, utilizing social media platforms, or making waves with PR, we have the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let us help your brand navigate China’s intricate business scene.

 

contact us SDG

 

Resources:

Top 10 Traditional Chinese Festivals
Traditional Festivals in China

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