With Chinese New Year just around the corner, luxury brands have started rolling out limited-edition collections celebrating the Year of the Sheep. Aimed at Chinese shoppers worldwide, commemorative Chinese New Year collections (and store decorations) have become increasingly common in recent years, ranging from overt (the infamous Gold-and-Red Ferrari 458 in 2012) to subtle (Dunhill’s snake cufflinks in 2013).
This year, a wide range of brands, from Louis Vuitton, MCM, Piaget, and Estée Lauder to Chow Tai Fook, Swarovski, Vacheron Constantin, and Panerai have gotten in on the Sheep-themed action. Retailers, too, are joining in, with Year of the Sheep displays appearing from Fifth Avenue to Knightsbridge.
For brands looking to attract Chinese New Year tourist-shoppers, one of the most tried-and-true strategies is the customized Red Envelope (hongbao). Traditionally stuffed with cash and distributed among friends and family around the holiday, Red Envelopes have been used by brands, tourist destinations, and retailers to publicize gifts with purchase or “Spend X Get Y” promotions and engage outbound Chinese shoppers around the world.
Best practices for Red Envelopes include offering something with inherent value and appropriate flattery; making them bilingual; including promotion codes for customers to present at stores, to track spending; adding QR codes for WeChat accounts (when applicable); offering additional discount/promotion for those who bring friends and family; and using color schemes that include red and gold (auspicious colors in Chinese culture).
Although many brands and retailers hand out Red Envelopes to Chinese shoppers in-store, China Luxury Advisors recommends a more proactive approach, targeting Chinese tourist-shoppers through tour operators or guides, as well as US-based demographics such as international students.