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Mobile apps are becoming an integral part of Lunar New Year celebrations

by Alexandre Pham, VP, EMEA, Adjust

The year of the Tiger is upon us and as we welcome a new Lunar Year, mobile marketers have an opportunity to welcome risk, make big changes, get creative, and boost sales. Seasonal occasions such as Christmas and New Year are always interesting to keep an eye on in-app marketing, as user habits and behaviours shift rapidly from day-to-day – and Lunar New Year is no exception. Over the past few years, mobile has played an increasingly significant role in the 15-day festival taking place at the beginning of February, and new data from Adjust suggests this role is only going to grow in 2022 and beyond.   

According to Adjust data, interest in mobile apps for Lunar New Year has continued to grow annually in 2019, 2020 and 2021 – and with more than 1.5 billion people worldwide now celebrating Lunar New Year, 2022 is set to reach all new heights. Otherwise known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival – Lunar New Year presents an opportunity for consumers to engage with many different types of mobile apps, most notably mobile shopping, food delivery and music streaming. 

Shopping on mobile for Lunar New Year

One vertical which has demonstrated notable growth over the past few years in both installs and sessions around the time of the Spring Festival is mobile shopping apps. Our data shows increased global installs of shopping apps on the day Lunar New Year starts, jumping 29% in 2020 compared to 2019, and another 18% in 2021. Sessions have also seen remarkable growth. Compared to 2019, global sessions of shopping apps increased by 36% in 2020, and skyrocketed by 54% in 2021. The increasing number of people who are adopting mobile apps to shop for and during festivities like Lunar New Year is reflective of the impact of the stay-at-home economy on mobile e-commerce. 

Food delivery thrives on Lunar New Year’s Day 

The impact of social distancing guidelines and lockdowns has similarly spread to mobile food delivery apps, which have since become an integral part of our lives, especially during seasonal festivities. In fact, food delivery apps saw a considerable increase in engagement during lockdowns in the UK, making it one of the fastest-growing verticals of 2020. Festive occasions more specifically cited growth in both installs and sessions across the globe. New Year’s Day 2022 for example, saw a 16% increase of food delivery app installs compared to New Year’s Day in 2021.

Lunar New Year festival also saw similar growth in both installs and sessions around the festival in 2020. A poignant part of Lunar New Year is reunion dinners, but how people get their food has changed dramatically, as people are increasingly opting to order in for Lunar New Year celebrations. Global installs of food delivery apps saw growth of 56% in 2020, compared to 2019, and grew another 2% in 2021. Sessions are where it really gets impressive for this vertical, however. On Lunar New Year’s Day 2020, global sessions increased by 100% compared to 2019, and in 2021 they surged another 90%.

Music streaming also trending upward

Another app vertical which experienced spikes throughout the seasonal celebrations is music streaming. During the Spring Festival, people tend to revisit traditional music and also reinvent and release new music to signify the start of a new season. Music is broadcast on televised celebrations in most Asian countries. Music streaming apps, however, are also becoming a key part of this equation. According to our data, global sessions of music streaming apps grew 27% in 2020, compared to 2019, and jumped a further 2% in 2021.

How can mobile app marketers leverage Lunar New Year?

While the Year of the Rat (2020) was about survival and the Year of the Ox (2021) was about anchoring ourselves in a new reality, the Year of the Tiger (2022) will be about making big changes and taking risks, to stand out from the crowd to attract new users, and to take advantage of greater app engagement. Although apps can rely on tried-and-true tactics, such as sales and promotion codes, apps can stand out by incorporating more Lunar New Year traditions and customs in their campaigns, and focusing on localisation. The key for a better return on investment (ROI) is a full-funnel advertising strategy tailored with the right and relevant ads at every touchpoint in the user’s journey. Lastly, it’s vital for mobile marketers and advertisers that they then retain the users acquired throughout the festivities. From there, marketers can build a devoted user base, increase revenue and improve their app’s return on investment.