The "Christmasification" of Asian Markets


A survey of a few leading global brands gives every indication that Santa is indeed hitting the Asian market on his tour around the globe. In fact, Christmas has become a secular, shopping-based holiday in the world’s most populous continent. Given the astounding online retail sales in Asian markets this year, retailers are eager to pounce on this end-of-year opportunity to watch their sales numbers skyrocket.

How can your company profit from the global Christmas boom? From fir trees to seasonal sales, here are a few ways eCommerce merchants are capitalizing on the “Christmasification” of Asia.


China is poised to surpass the U.S. as the largest online marketplace in the world this year, and surprisingly, Christmas might be the event that gives it the edge.

Taobao and Tmall, Alibaba’s two main Chinese online marketplaces, show the retail prominence of what has turned into a giant, secular reason to shop. Commercial Christmas decorations appear in homes, businesses, and online; merchants have Christmas sales that encourage people to buy gifts for themselves as the holiday has become a reason to simply shop, shop, shop. The hundreds of Christmas-themed items on Taobao attest to the holiday’s significance vis-à-vis Chinese shoppers.



Japanese retailers also draw on Christmas as a reason to purchase items online and off. Ecommerce giants like Toys R Us stock Christmas trees (many of them compact and pre-decorated) as well as other decorations. Japan is also a popular destination for end-of-year regional travelers, with visitors from places like Hong Kong and Thailand expected to continue to grow through the New Year. A quick tour through Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district leaves no question of the holiday’s commercial appeal.


Christmas has moved from being celebrated as a romantic holiday for young couples to a more family-focused event in Japan. Instead of the traditional and formal oseibo, a gifting tradition that dates back to the 18th century, giving Christmas gifts is more causal and particularly popular with younger customers. For anyone actually in Japan this holiday season, check out KFC’s special Christmas dinner menu. The company experiences its highest sales volume of the year on Christmas Eve and its website offers games, screensavers and promotional videos to make the experience last. KFC’s 1974 marketing campaign that Christmas “meant chicken” has most certainly paid seasonal dividends.




Korea and Indonesia

Holiday iconography moves beyond toys and food for Asian markets, demonstrating Christmas’s impact across eCommerce. Swedish fashion retailer H&M’s Korean website features a selection of holiday clothes, complete with winged packages and Christmas-inspired music that automatically plays in the background.


Online beauty and cosmetics retailer Luxola reaches across Southeast Asia with its Christmas spirit. Its Indonesian site offers Christmas sales, stocking stuffers and holiday-themed gift sets. The Singapore-based company clearly has figured out ways to leverage Christmas to its expanding service area that currently also includes Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.


As you can see, the robust Asian marketplace is definitely worth targeting next year. Want to deliver Santa-inspired marketing to your customers in China, Japan, Korea or Indonesia? Contact us to learn how our translation services can help you plan ahead for 2014’s holiday season.

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Smart, fun and useful. Acclaro shares news and tips on translation, localization, language, global business and culture.


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