Chinese New Year – The Trends

11 Dec,2019

[lead]This upcoming Chinese New Year falls on Saturday 25th January and grocers are already getting prepared for the event![/lead]

Just after Christmas, we’ll be taking down the tinsel and packing away the turkey leftovers in order to get ready for Chinese New Year! A special event that takes China by storm, all of us all over the world love to get involved. With yet another big event on the horizon, as per some of our other blog posts, we thought we’d delve into this Chinese tradition to see how it affects our UK stores, and how our favourite grocers utilise the festival to increase customer spending.

First, a Little History

Those who are unfamiliar may be asking, what is Chinese New Year and how does it differ from the Western new year? Well, Chinese New Year, or the Spring festival, is a celebration based on the Lunar calendar as it marks a new ‘lunar’ year. In the West, most of the calendars are based on the ‘Gregorian’ calendar which always starts on January 1st, hence the UK’s usual celebrations. Due to it being based on the movement of the moon, the date of the Chinese New year is always changing as well as it’s a celebrated animal.

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Every Chinese New Year celebrates the animal who’s zodiac coincides with the year of the moon, and since there are 12 zodiacs, each one is the centre of attention once every twelve years. So, as you can imagine, it’s a big and important event for the people of China and is usually celebrated with a variety of traditions which include Lantern Festivals, Parades, spending time with family, and eating lots of delicious food.

By the sounds of it, it is no surprise that the UK has fully embraced Chinese New Year celebrations, and we have slowly seen its influence trickle into our favourite grocers. With it being a celebration that partly revolves around food, grocers have made sure to get in on the celebrations and become the go-to place for the event – using the celebrations to encourage spending and customer compliance.

What do we see from Grocers?

As we have seen from other events that grocers tend to take on within store, there are certain repeating strategies that crop up time and time again when analysing how they attempt to appeal to customers and increase customer spending throughout the festivities. So what will we be seeing for this Chinese New Year?

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As a nation, we are renowned for our love of our takeaways and many media sources have dubbed Chinese as the UK’s favourite. With that said, it was only time before grocers made a link between what the nation’s love and this anticipated holiday. Last year, we saw many of our favourite grocers direct their Chinese New Year marketing towards their takeaway products. Stores like Asda, Sainsburys and Iceland mainly focused their promotions around the food aspect of Chinese new year, which can be seen as a clever, strategic move due to their secured knowledge of our love for all things food – particularly that of Chinese.

For some stores, their Chinese Takeaway products already existed, but Chinese New Year-themed marketing like adapted designs within their visual merchandising was implemented, as well as specialised FSDUs and promotions to help engage customers and reap the benefits of this time of potential increased spending.

sainsburys chinese new year

For last year’s CNY, Sainsbury’s advertised not only their already existing takeaway line but the Chinese food products that they stock. Providing a potentially cheaper alternative to the general take away allows for a simple marketing strategy and a sure-fire way to attract customers during this holiday.


Sticking with the theme of food, another way that stores adapt their marketing specifically for Chinese New Year is becoming an outlet for recipes. Promoting new and different recipes for Chinese dishes not only is a great way to advertise the range of products in-store but appeals to customers wanting to try new things in amongst the festivities – bringing them to your store to buy new ingredients and celebrate in their own way. Some stores in the past have been seen to use free recipe cards in-store when others just focus their marketing online which also helps put your store on the map through the increase of Chinese New Year being entered into search engines.

Tesco was seen to post a whole range of Chinese recipes for those to get in on the Chinese New Year spirit, complete with the ability to make up your own ingredients list using the products from within store.


One other angle that we see time and time again during Chinese New Year are stores that integrate general awareness into their in-store marketing. This includes not only informative stands within store but online blog posts and articles which educate customers and let them know exactly what they are celebrating. This is a clever, strategic marketing ploy within itself as the more customers are aware and know all about Chinese New Year, the more they will want to get in on all the festivities and use your store to stock up on everything they need to do so.

asda blog chinese new year

In 2017, George, Asda released a blog post informing people on how they can celebrate Chinese New Year, obviously linking many of their products to lead the reader to their products. Sainsbury’s also gave a little Chinese New Year history lesson to their viewers to entice them further towards their marketed products.

What can Tactical Do?

Here at Tactical Solutions, we have the teams and the software to help ensure that your brand or store is getting the most out of their marketing for Chinese New Year, allowing you to reap the benefits of increased spending and footfall during this time. With our access to live store data, as well as our dedicated teams who visit in-store, they are able to resolve issues that might hinder sales and implement effective actions; assuring that you’re continuing to perform well.