Mobile app insights and marketing strategies for Lunar New Year 2024
As we approach the Lunar New Year 2024, commencing on February 10, we transition from the Year of the Rabbit to the Year of the Dragon - a symbol of good luck, justice, prosperity, and strength. But more than just a change in the zodiac, this time marks immense cultural significance and increased global consumer consumption and engagement. Celebrated by billions, the Lunar New Year is a time for families to unite, share feasts, exchange gifts, and create lasting memories. Mobile apps also play a crucial role during this time, enriching traditions by facilitating virtual family gatherings, simplifying gift shopping, ensuring timely delivery of festive foods, and enabling people to send heartfelt greetings.
In this blog, we review mobile app trends from the Lunar New Year 2023. These insights offer a solid foundation for understanding the integral role of apps in Lunar New Year festivities and evolving consumer preferences. We also explore effective marketing strategies and innovative campaign ideas for mobile marketers to enhance their presence during this auspicious period. Whether you're launching a new app or optimizing an existing one, these insights, and strategies will help to harness the potential of the Lunar New Year, turning this festive season into a time of significant growth and engagement.
Lunar New Year drives growth in various app categories
During the Lunar New Year period, app installs, sessions, and session lengths significantly increase across various app subverticals, reflecting diverse consumer behaviors during the festive season. Here are the top mobile app trends observed during the Lunar New Year 2023:
- Rise in shopping app installs: Lunar New Year celebrations led to a boost in shopping app installs. There was 10% year-over-year (YoY) growth in 2022 and a further 7% increase in 2023, highlighting a trend in consumers seeking gifts for their loved ones during this time.
- Deal discovery apps gain momentum: Deal discovery apps experienced a notable surge. The Lunar New Year of 2023 saw a 15% increase in installs compared to 2022. This upward trend was observed worldwide, with regional growth of 10% in North America on Lunar New Year's Day compared to the January average, 7% in APAC, and 4% in EMEA. The average global session length also increased from 6.31 minutes in 2022 to 6.96 minutes in 2023.
- An uptick in marketplace app usage: Marketplace apps followed a similar trend with a 3% YoY global install increase. APAC led the growth, with a 27% rise compared to the January 2023 average. EMEA and North America also saw increases of 7% and 6%, respectively. Global session lengths for these apps increased slightly, up from 11.51 minutes in 2022 to 11.91 minutes in 2023.
- Food delivery apps thrive: Food delivery apps' installs on Lunar New Year’s Day grew by 8% globally YoY. This growth was accompanied by a 4% increase in global sessions compared to January's average. Global session lengths also jumped from 14.94 minutes in 2022 to 17.39 minutes in 2023. Regionally, APAC installs were 7% above the January average, North America saw a 6% increase, and EMEA had a 4% rise.
- Recipe apps for homemade cooking: Recipe apps saw a 14% and 13% increase in global installs and sessions on Lunar New Year's Day compared to the month’s average. Global session lengths extended from 12.32 minutes in 2022 to 13.42 minutes in 2023. APAC led the growth with a 17% increase, followed by North America and EMEA with 9% and 2% increases, respectively.
- Mobile gaming for entertainment: Gaming app installs globally increased by 2% in 2023 compared to the previous year, and sessions increased by 4% compared to the monthly average. Global session lengths rose from 31.33 minutes in 2022 to 32.29 minutes in 2023. Both APAC and North America saw a 17% increase in gaming app installs on Lunar New Year’s Day compared to the January 2023 average, with APAC sessions also rising by 7%. EMEA experienced an 8% growth in installs.
5 key Lunar New Year strategies for app growth
Lunar New Year celebrations present excellent opportunities for app marketers. During this time, consumers seek products and services that reflect the festival's themes of luck, prosperity, and fresh starts. By aligning strategically with these feelings, mobile app marketers can strengthen bonds with their users, thereby increasing loyalty and fostering a positive brand image. Here are five key strategies tailored to elevate your user acquisition (UA), retention, and revenue during this holiday season.
- Enhance cultural relevance: Understand and respect the nuances of various Asian communities to represent the Lunar New Year better. Combine localization, cultural awareness, and traditional motifs into a unified approach. Recognize unique celebrations and incorporate these elements into your marketing to connect authentically with the audience.
- Diversify and integrate marketing channels: Streamline your online presence with a cohesive strategy that combines various marketing channels. Use a mix of programmatic advertising, social media platforms, and direct email campaigns. Engage your audience with culturally relevant content and consider expanding your reach through channels like WeChat for real impact in the Chinese market.
- Festive product offerings and strategic promotions: Capitalize on the gift-giving tradition with unique Lunar New Year-themed products and promotions. Design limited-edition items that resonate with the festive spirit and offer discounts that align with the Red Envelopes tradition. Collaborate with local artists for unique and culturally relevant offerings.
- Influencer partnerships and community engagement: Leverage influencers and user-generated content to amplify your brand's reach and authenticity. Partner with influencers who respect the Lunar New Year's cultural significance and encourage customers to share their festival experiences.
- Early campaign planning: Start Lunar New Year marketing well in advance to stay top of mind during the prolonged holiday season. However, even last-minute strategies can be effective.
3 Lunar New Year marketing campaigns to learn from
As mobile marketers continually look for new ways to captivate and engage audiences, the Lunar New Year offers a unique chance to develop culturally relevant and technologically advanced campaigns. The following examples demonstrate how brands can meld traditional celebrations with modern digital strategies to encapsulate the spirit of the Lunar New Year and connect with diverse audiences.
Coca-Cola's innovative Lunar New Year 2023 campaign captured the spirit of unity and cross-generational bonds. The campaign, spanning eight Asian markets, featured a touching animated film named "Grandma's Jiaozi," which portrayed the changing Lunar New Year traditions within a family.
The campaign was enhanced by an artificial intelligence (AI) powered mobile feature and limited-edition packaging with interactive augmented reality (AR) elements, merging traditional customs with modern technology. Components like the AI-powered Magic Capturer transformed family photos into interactive, shared moments. Meanwhile, AR animations in gift packs modernized the tradition of gift-giving. This strategy bridged the generational gap, offering engaging, fun experiences that appeal to young and older audiences.
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McDonald’s launched a dynamic Lunar New Year campaign in partnership with digital content creator Karen X Cheng. The campaign included a groundbreaking 30-second commercial that used neural radiance fields (NeRF) technology, a type of AI that generates immersive 3D scenes. The advertisement, which portrayed Cheng's childhood Lunar New Year memories, contained a QR code that led to more campaign features. It demonstrated McDonald's commitment to combining innovation with cultural engagement, especially for the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community. The campaign was further enhanced with an AR filter on Instagram and a Metaverse experience on Spatial. The virtual environment featured 3D models of the Chinese zodiac and special events, such as a Year of the Rabbit celebration and an interactive session with Cheng’s avatar.
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Sephora Malaysia launched an engaging "Lung Pao" campaign for the Lunar New Year. The goal was to differentiate itself in a competitive market by making in-app messaging interactive. The campaign simulated the traditional practice of giving Ang Paos (red envelopes). Users received virtual red packets in the app from January 15-17. Opening these packets revealed a variety of surprise gifts, from cash vouchers and loyalty points to high-end items like a Dyson Hair Dryer. Winners were then asked to provide personal information, helping to enrich their customer profiles. This strategy resulted in a substantial 132% increase in purchases among participants, particularly those who received lower-value gifts. This campaign shows how gamifying mobile marketing can effectively boost customer engagement and value, leading to higher conversions.
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