For most of the Western world, the Lunar New Year, popularly known as the Chinese New Year, typically comes and goes with minimal fuss. However, in Mainland China and the surrounding countries, it’s a celebration of epic proportions. Picture an extended festive season with more extensive travel and where everything shuts down for several weeks – even your local convenience store!
For an e-commerce seller with suppliers in China, this period can be catastrophic without proper planning. Ultimately, each year, sellers across the globe gear up for this significant, annual supply chain disruption. Here is everything you need to know to ensure your business runs smoothly during this period.
What is the Chinese New Year?
This year, 22 January 2023 marks the beginning of the New Year and will conclude with the Lantern Festival on 5 February 2023.
Also referred to as the Spring Festival, this year will be the Year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese Zodiac. The holiday is celebrated across several Asian countries, including Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, and Singapore. Officially, only the first seven days of the Chinese New Year are public holidays, but celebrations can last between 7 days and several weeks.
As a result, the extended holiday can cause massive disruptions for your e-commerce business.
How will the Chinese New Year affect shipping?
The Chinese New Year causes the largest annual human migration in the world – as observers travel home to reunite with their families. Inevitably there will be shipping delays, and product shortages as many businesses, factories, and supermarkets close for this holiday period.
During this time, virtually all workers in China get extended holidays to celebrate with their loved ones after a year of hard work. As a result, the nationwide shutdowns put the whole system under pressure due to increased demand as Chinese families stock up on their daily supplies to ensure they have enough food and luxury items to enjoy the festival. Likewise, e-commerce sellers need to plan and prepare their businesses and customers for impending shipping backlogs leading up to and during this period.