Christmas took hold in China around the 1990s. At the time, around 60% of the world’s Christmas decorations were Made in China and came in particular from a large industrial town in the Zhejiang region, Yiwu. For many years this city was nicknamed Santa’s real factory.

Most Chinese do not celebrate Christmas, but they see it as an opportunity to do a shopping  festival. Merchants follow this trend, many department stores and shopping malls are decorated with Christmas trees, twinkling lights, and festive decorations, and large promotional activities are held.

Santa Claus is a symbol of giving and Christmas cheer in the West, but he is more of an “atmosphere lifter” in China. As you wander around the stores and streets, you’ll often see a big, red-suited Father Christmas jamming out on a saxophone. Christmas is also regarded as a “Valentine’s Day” by many young Chinese people. To stimulate consumption, various promotional activities are held in the shops and shopping malls. Restaurants offer Christmas dinners on Christmas Eve. And, interestingly, sending apples as gifts to friends on Christmas Eve is one of the traditions of a Chinese Christmas. Some high-end (4 and 5-star) hotels and restaurants may offer special Christmas feasts, taking place on or around Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Some businesses will have a small party for their employees.

60% of Chinese consumers are attracted by limited editions that are not slow to arrive at this time of year: a figure provided by the growing number of Christmas-related hashtags that mention 限定 xiàndìng or 限量, xiànliàng that is “limited edition”. It is also demonstrated by the hashtag of Christmas trees that has drawn over 240 million views on China’s largest microblogging site Weibo. Under which, posts range from tutorial videos on how to make one’s own Christmas trees to photos of users’ festival decorations, with many even dressing up with Christmas costumes.

Christmas offers and celebrations attract women much more than men, a fact confirmed by the statistics of the best-selling products. Cosmetic products are among the most sought after, it is no coincidence that a lipstick appears among the most used emojis on WeChat in December.

It is clear this appetite shows a new market for brands to pursue and whilst it may not be a lucrative as Double 11, but this festival could grow in size and with that the market in China.


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