2015 is the Year of the Savvy Shopper – Making the Most of Chinese New Year

12th Februar 2015
Von Chris Morrison

Chinese-New-Year-Dumplings[1]Valentine’s Day is coming up and has traditionally been a fairly lucrative opportunity for retailers.
The theme of romance at this time of year means seasonal promotions, sophisticated private label ready meals and bigger orders for chocolates and flowers will all be a hit with customers. However, looking beyond Valentine’s, on February 19th it is Chinese New Year. Retailers have a real opportunity to take a fresh look at this holiday and engage with the modern, savvy shopper.

Changing tastes

The biggest change in recent years is that modern shoppers have become exposed to a wider range of tastes and diverse cuisines. Globally there has been an increasing trend in sales of spicy food, with a report from last year showing spice ranked in the top three favourites from a list of food considerations. Chinese food plays to this well, as well as a growing sense of adventure on the part of consumers to try new flavours. No longer content with ordering a Chow Mein from the takeaway, consumers have more diverse tastes: from particular dishes like dim sum to more regional cuisine, like dishes from the unique Szechuan region. Furthermore, Chinese food no longer stops at restaurants and takeaways; consumers are now looking to try and recreate these dishes at home.

Authenticity in the home

This represents an opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to cater for shoppers around Chinese New Year through a broad private label approach. For the savvy home cook, private label spice mixes and pre-packaged ingredients can be an effective and low cost way for shoppers to recreate their favourite Chinese dishes in one go. Packs of pre-prepared Chinese stir fry vegetables are a good example of how convenience and speciality can go hand in hand. Coupled with non-food private label products like non-stick Woks and bamboo steamers, consumers can have everything they need to recreate a Chinese meal in the one store. For the less adventurous shopper, premium Chinese ready meals and specially marinated meat and fish can be a good way of recreating Chinese flavours and go one above just stocking spring rolls and prawn toast.

Customer opportunity

In the wider retail landscape, Chinese New Year presents a strong opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to engage with consumers and sustain this momentum through launching innovative new ranges throughout the year. For instance, in the world of grocery retail many will appreciate the convenience of being able to purchase authentic ingredients from their local supermarket rather than having to go to a large supermarket on the outskirts of town or specialist Chinese store. Putting a focus on authentic ingredients can also sit well with other private label ranges and create international ranges like Stop & Shop introducing its international line or even elevating these products to become premium ranges in their own rights, like Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Pad Thai.

In conclusion, Chinese New Year is an unrepresented holiday that can provide a good way for retailers to engage with adventurous consumers, as well as a growing Chinese population. When planning for February, Valentine’s Day will always be a honeymoon period but Chinese New Year can usher in a prosperous new time for retailers and manufacturers.

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