How To Prepare For The Chinese Holidays
There are 7 Chinese holidays throughout the year which can affect your manufacturing and shipping timings. So this article is all about how to prepare for the Chinese holidays, as an eCommerce business-owner!
The most famous Chinese holiday is Chinese New Year, but this isn’t the only holiday that can impact your business…
There are 7 official public holidays in China every year.
1. New Year: 1st January
2. Chinese New Year: Flexible date in January or February
- This is the longest public holiday
- Expect factories to be closed for a whole month; they close 2 weeks before CNY and open 2 weeks after
3. Qing Ming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day): Flexible date in April
4. Labor Day: 1st May
5. Dragon Boat Festival: Flexible date in June
6. Chinese National Day: 1st October
- This holiday lasts a whole week – from 1-7 October.
- The week is also called Golden Week because it marks the beginning after National Day when all factories start to gear up for the busy shopping season, Q4
7. Mid-Autumn Festival (Chinese Thanksgiving): Flexible date in September
If you don’t plan ahead and get your orders in on time – you might run out of stock. And if you’re selling on Amazon, running out of stock can lead to losing your ranking, losing potential customers, and missing out on revenue.
So here’s how to plan your inventory levels & prepare for the Chinese holidays
1. Remember the important dates
Make a note of all the 7 holidays in your diary, so you are aware of all the possible delays throughout the year
2. Allow a wide buffer in timings and expect delays
Factories often slow down before these holidays and it can take some time for them to return as well.
Sometimes mistakes can happen when your products are being made. So it’s a good idea to allow a 2-4 week buffer just as a back-up.
3. Place your order well in advance of these holidays
4. Pay your deposit well in advance
Make sure you also pay for your deposit with enough time. Sometimes international transfers can take a few days to arrive; if you want to ship your orders before the holiday, you’ll need to make sure the money reaches your suppliers account before the shipping date.
Factories often prioritize sellers who put their order and deposits in first – so get ahead by placing your order and paying for the deposit, so that you don’t stay at the bottom of the queue. You don’t want to wait until the last minute & get stuck.
5. Make sure your supplier confirms that they will ship before the holiday
If they say no, ask them where you are in the queue of other buyers- if you are at the front of the queue, you might be prepared to wait, but if there are lots of other sellers ahead of you, you might want to consider looking for a different supplier who can ship faster.
6. Bear in mind the last shipping date
Shipping companies will stop working before the date of the public holiday, so make sure you know the last possible date for shipping. This means you’ll need your shipment to be all completed, inspected, packed, and ready to ship.
7. Calculate your timings
Let’s take the 2020 Chinese New Year, as an example, and put this into practice.
We know that the factories will be closed 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after.
- In 2020, Chinese New Year lands on January 25.
- This means that the factories will close on 10 January and reopen on 11 February.
- That means you will want to ship your order by 6 January.
- Let’s say your lead time to manufacture your products is 30 days. This means you’ll need to place your order for your products by 5 December.
- Which will mean you’ll need the money to reach your suppliers by 5 December- so you’ll probably want to order this the week before.
- Also, factories are especially busy during this period – so it’s a good idea to allow at least an extra week buffer for the production times. So we’d suggest placing your order around 20 November.
If things get delayed, and you don’t get your shipment out before the holiday, the factories will return on 11 February. And expect there to be a backlog of orders. Workers will be slow returning and it’s likely to take a while to get your order out. And then, of course, there’s the shipping time on top! By the time your stock arrives in the Amazon warehouse… it could be as late as April! So watch out 😉
Here’s how long the holidays last so you can expect how long the factories will be closed with the possible impact time
- Chinese New Year is the holiday with the longest impact as the factories are closed for a whole month.
- During Golden Week (in October), the factories are closed for one week.
- All the other holidays are one-day holidays where the impact time is a maximum of around 5 days (which include the weekend).
During these holidays, you won’t be able to get things manufactured – nor will you be able to ship anything outside of China.
So pop the important dates in your diary and make sure you forecast your stock and plan your orders well ahead.
One final tip: It’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to source from China!
If you’re in the US, you can find a local supplier from places like wholesalecentral.com, thomasnet.com or simply check google by searching for your product keyword + private label, wholesale or manufacturer. “E.g. garlic press wholesale”.
You might find yourself placing large orders before you really want to, but planning ahead will help you to stay in stock. You won’t want to run out of stock during the holidays, especially during Chinese New Year. If you lose your ranking on Amazon, you’ll have to do a lot of work (spending more on PPC ads, giving away more products) to get your ranking back.