Christmas is making its way into the heart of Chinese megacities. In Changsha, Hangzhou or Chengdu, each mall sports its Christmas tree, its Santa Claus, and has donned its most glittering decorations.
After the sales records set on Singles Day on November 11, we’re interested to see if Christmas finally taken hold in China and set another holiday sales record.
Our research team decided to do a little digging on Search, our social media search engine:
Mentions of Christmas on Wechat and Weibo | Linkfluence Search
Let’s be clear: China’s love of Christmas is nowhere near that of Europe or the United States. Most children aren’t anxiously anticipating Santa’s arrival - most have never even heard of the jolly man.
But Christmas is gaining steam in China, primarily through the influence of television and movies. Chinese children are learning English more than ever, brands and distributors are committing serious marketing dollars to Christmas promotions.
Christmas marketing in China: the stats
Interestingly, Chinese Christmas is neither a day for children or families. It’s more for young couples to offer gifts to one another - like Valentine’s Day in December.
And it really only seems to appeal to women. Demographic data from social media makes this pretty clear:
Gender of social media users mentioning Christmas (in Chinese) | Linkfluence Search
With this in mind, Linkfluence was interested in vertical skincare / beauty, to identify the brands most associated with Christmas at this time on Chinese social networks. The goal is to predict which products will be the most sought after in the coming days.
It’s all about lipstick
For a little more insight, we can look closer at the most popular emojis on social media. These are now used everywhere online, and brands can learn a lot about what buyers care about.
In this case, lipstick features prominently among the top emojis associated with Christmas. Most of the other emojis are either classic Christmas choices or generic, so this is very interesting:
The emojis most commonly associated with Christmas over a month | Linkfluence Search
But there’s more: 60% of these consumers mention the terms 限定 or 限量, which mean "Limited Edition."
Digging deeper, we found about fifteen brands featured prominently, with the top 5 being: Shu Uemura, Dior, MAC, YSL Beauty, Shiseido’s CPB
Source: all posts during the period on SEARCH
- Shiseido #CPB Unlock Wonderland (圣诞限定奇幻仙境彩妆系列)
The Japanese brand Skin Key Beauty by Shiseido has a particular lipstick in “pink flamingo” color, which clearly appeals to Chinese consumers:
"The packaging is too beautiful! Too cute, and the flamingo, I can’t anymore! "
"Just the packaging. I’m buying it immediately!"
“I am a huge fan of CPB! Too beautiful! Girly! I love it!”
“I announce CPB the winner of the Christmas Limited Editions!”
- Dior Midnight Wish Christmas Limited Edition
The buzz around this lipstick is for two reasons: the Christmas wishes written directly on the lipstick, and the small starry pencil buyers receive with it.
Source: The Little Red Book (小红书), one of the monitored platforms on Radarly
Some web users quickly used this kit to customize other accessories. #DIY!
"Girls, I added a chain to my kit. Tada! A Dior bag! "（link）
- MAC Shiny Pretty Things Limited Edition
This year, MAC launched a new mini lipstick, which was an instant hit. A collaboration with Youtuber Patrick Starrr also helped to boost the visibility of the launch.
"With this Wink of Pink Mermaid, I advise you to apply two layers for guaranteed results!"
- Shu Uemura x LA MAISON DU CHOCOLAT
Shu Uemura teamed up with La Maison du Chocolat to create sweet lipsticks.
Caramel, milk chocolate, raspberry - obviously these were going to be popular:
"This collab is crazy! The milk chocolate color is just amazing! "
- YSL Black Gold Attraction
Novelty always works well for brands. This year, Yves Saint Laurent Beauty created its first lipstick in a black case, with three gold letters. And yes, social media users love it:
"Simple, with a very luxurious feeling, and a clearly visible logo. The winning trio."
“YSL has never disappointed me with its limited editions. It's beautiful enough to make me cry!”
Beauty advent calendars: another huge hit in China
Among the must-have Christmas items are luxury advent calendars. Just like the chocolate version, these let people open one gift per day - usually a high-end beauty product.
Among the top hashtags associated, three in particular are driving the conversation: # 星愿 启程 奇迹 礼赞 #, # 礼 享 奇缘 24 味 #, and #CT 魔法 星辰 系列 #.
We also see two brands emerge as the most popular: Dyptique and Kiehl's.
Top hashtags associated to posts about Christmas on Weibo and WeChat | Linkfluence Search
- Jo Malone: #24 Christmas Flavors (#礼享奇缘24味)
Perfume brand Jo Malone reached out to singer Hebe Tien, actor Zhai Tianlin, and other influencers to promote his advent calendar.
（ cf @程晓玥YvonneChing）
- La Mer: #Offer a miracle (#星愿启程 奇迹礼赞)
Many beauty bloggers are touting this limited edition calendar from La Mer. This is the brand’s first advent calendar, and consumers are excited to have a new option on the market.
- Charlotte Tilbury: “CT Magic Stars Edition” (#CT魔法星辰系列)
British brand Charlotte Tilbury’s calendar is, according to many Chinese web users, "the most difficult to find this year." The product isn’t even in mainland China yet - only Hong Kong - but it’s creating waves on social media.
French brand Diptyque is a little more niche, and this inevitably attracts Chinese fashionistas looking for new products. This advent calendar is also not distributed in mainland China, so they have to use Daigou (a reseller) on Wechat or Little Red Book (Xiao Hong Shu), the e-commerce app that highlights foreign brands and products not found in China.
（ cf @Janicekidd)
In terms of price, the Kiehl's Advent calendar is much more affordable than all the others. For a lot of users, this is a huge tick in its favor.
（ cf @阿泓泓 )
Master Christmas Marketing in China
Whether you’re new to launching campaigns for Christmas marketing in China, or already enjoy a position within your target Chinese market that you want to grow, a comprehensive understanding of the Chinese social media landscape is essential to a successful campaign.