In China, International Women’s Day (IWD) has received increased attention in recent years. A few years ago, this holiday was recognized more as a tribute to women, similar to Mother’s Day and perhaps Valentine’s Day. But today, IWD is more noticed as a tribute to women’s rights, and women’s progress towards a more equal society.
From a market perspective, this day has almost become a competition about who “celebrates” women the most.
This holiday is also interesting from a market perspective because it shows China’s rapid development in demand, consumer behavior, and the importance of thinking locally.
How is International Women’s Day celebrated in China?
Many companies celebrate the IWD by giving women employees a half day off. Some companies also give small gifts in the form of postcards or perhaps a fruit basket.
“Girls Day” is a festival day in China that is celebrated at universities on March 7, one day before IWD. The Girls Day is celebrated by universities offering different activities, competitions, and meet-ups for girls.
Historically, Women’s Day in China has been celebrated since 1921, but it was in 1949, with the People’s Republic of China, that it became an official holiday. The year of 1950 is also an important landmark with the introduction of the “Marriage law” that keeps women free from arranged marriages, which was a great step for the womens right, and today we see the rise of the She-economy.
Why has Women’s Day in China become so important?
The term “Sheeconomy” found its place in China’s dictionary in 2007. It refers to the new market that emerged from women’s better economic conditions, and increased consumption. In the media, the term was used to describe how women choose careers instead of family and the overall development of gender norms in society.
Today, most articles and debates are focused on how big brands and e-platforms are targeting the “Sheeconomy” in their marketing strategy. According to Alibaba’s Digital B2B Outlook 2023, over 70% of all purchases in households are made by women, including luxury products and online shopping, etc.
This day has been criticized for becoming more of a shopping day. But this, in turn, is also criticized by the younger generation who appreciate that women’s issues are being addressed, even if it is through “shopping”.
How do brands celebrate International Women’s Day in China?
NBH has taken a quick look at marketing trends during International Womens Day in China.
Close to 8 March 2023, the American chocolate brand Hershey made a big success with the launch of a limited collection of the theme HERSHE (HER-SHE) and named the campaign SHEROES (SHE-HEROES). The campaign celebrates International Women’s Day by honoring three women who have contributed positively to society: Wildlife photographer Xu Keyi, volunteer teacher Wan Lijun, and the young artist Wu Xixia.
This had led to #HERSHE being widely spread on social media.
The domestic beauty brand had a similar theme. The Chinese cosmetic brandFlorasis 花西子, celebrated IWD by interviewing three women from different industries about sensitivity (敏感力), is being sensitive and emotional a negative thing?
Watch the full campaign video here.
The theme this year just seems to be a little more down to earth and also pays tribute to the “ordinary woman”.
A promotional video that is still mentioned when talking about IWD, NBH wrote about it last year as well, but it is still worth mentioning, is the beauty brand Proya. This campaign was collab with Women’s Daily 2021.
International Womens Day campaign 2021 – Proya cosmetic.
To summarize, marketing during this years IWD is trending towards softer values. A successful market strategy is to dare to be more personal, integrate with the customer and above all adapt the strategy for China.