At a glance

Western luxury brands need to be aware of Chinese cultural norms during the Chinese New Year period, or risk alienating the consumers they seek to attract and marginalising their brand.

Why it matters

China is one of the world’s largest luxury markets, yet, an ill-judged symbol, a careless comment on social media, a bad crisis communication, or a clumsy and insincere apology, could wipe out years of market penetration in one swoop.


  • In 2019 alone, there were more than forty noticeable cultural missteps from brands compared to an average of one or two per year at the beginning of this decade.
  • Brands need an authentic and deep understanding of Chinese customers’ relationship with themselves, their culture, and their collective national identity.
  • Brands can no longer get away with slapping Chinese characters or the Chinese red on products without actually understanding the traditions and cultural significance.