Chinese New Year, and who’s capitalizing on it

Chinese New Year, and who’s capitalizing on it

For many across the world it’s the end of the first week back to work, festive celebrations a distant memory as the tree is packed away, lights taken down, the last of the Christmas food is being eaten at a rate of knots (no? just me?), and normality resumes. However, as we know, Chinese New Year (let’s call it CNY for short) is still yet to come, taking place this year on 25th January. And this celebration is big, with an estimated 2.9 billion people taking journeys to see loved ones, and China having a seven-day annual holiday.

And for the cosmetics industry it’s yet another occasion to deliver clever and targeted marketing campaigns, as well as kickstart the all-important sales figures at the beginning of the year.  

As with any significant event on the calendar, businesses are gearing up to capitalize on the celebrations, with limited-edition collections and initiatives launches aplenty. While whiskey company Glen Fiddich has teamed up with Shenzhen-based artist Rion Wang to create a special new design for the Lunar New Year, the cosmetics world is also marking the occasion. And, of course, is getting in on the action, playing host to the campaign by The Forbidden City, which houses the Palace museum. The campaign celebrates the Year of the Rat in the form of a giveaway special brocade box, made by the palace. Consumers making purchases in the run-up to the New Year could be in with a chance of winning the item, with Dove being one of the other international companies jumping on the bandwagon and launching their own boxes via The Forbidden City page on

The relevance to the market? As explained by Jing Li, Director of brand marketing at JD, to The Drum, “As cultural products are increasingly popular among the younger generation, developing practical products that use traditional cultural elements has been a draw for museums and brands. The collaboration between JD and The Forbidden City gives traditional culture a modern energy, and helps brands to interact with younger customers and create new growth opportunities.” Which, let’s face it, is what it’s all about.

While personal care giant Dove is savvy enough to take advantage of the important date, it’s said that make-up brands are the main marketers for the event, no doubt targeting Gen Z and Millennial consumers, and 2020 is no different. International brands have been launching ranges aplenty, and while the Rat doesn’t have particularly glamorous connotations in the West, it is in fact ranked first on the Chinese zodiac signs, with characteristics including spirit, wit, alertness, delicacy, flexibility and vitality. This may be so, but it’s perhaps not the easiest animal to integrate into CNY-dedicated packaging. That said, this lot seems to have nailed it; Becca has imprinted an adorable rat impression into its Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter Year of the Rat, while ColourPop Cosmetics has opted for the traditional colors of red and gold, with a classic and classy rat design incorporated into its Lunar New Range. Ah red and gold. Red being the key-color for CNY, given its symbolism of prosperity, the two hues often go hand in hand, and Make-Up Forever, Fenty Beauty, Pat McGrath and Nars’ have followed the same path of ColourPop, incorporating the hues into their CNY collections. There’s always the exception to the rule of course, and MAC’s Cosmetics Lunar Illusions range has avoided both the rat and red and gold, instead opting for beautiful dragon imagery in vibrant limited-edition packaging. We’d hazard a guess it won’t dampen enthusiasm for this collection of its best-selling products, and we’d hazard a guess that it’s not the last time we’ll be writing about these companies this year. Welcome to 2020, and happy Chinese New Year!