Last year, a majority of countries throughout Asia spent Lunar New Year in lockdown. The population watched and witnessed a rapid shift in shopping behaviour as the pandemic unfolded across the continent and around the world.

For many, e-commerce has become a part of everyday life. 46% of Asia-Pacific (APAC) consumers shopped online more frequently during stay-at-home restrictions, with strong growth seen in verticals such as Groceries & Household and Food Delivery services.

In 2021, Lunar New Year will come at a time where consumers are more comfortable shopping online than ever. Data from the Rakuten Advertising Affiliate Network shows an average uplift in site traffic by 51% year-over-year (YoY) across multiple categories in the week leading up to the 2020 Lunar New Year as compared to the year prior – a pre-pandemic world.

Let’s take a closer look at 2019 and 2020 YoY performance and how it can help you plan your APAC strategy for 2021.

A shift in spend across advertiser verticals

Unsurprisingly, Travel saw a 25% decline in clicks YoY in the week leading up to Lunar New year last year. Our network data shows APAC consumers have shifted their funds across to other verticals such as Apparel & Accessories and Education, with purchases in these categories rising by 41% and 38% YoY respectively.

Lingerie & Intimates, which includes loungewear and sleepwear, also experienced a substantial increase of 528% in clicks and 30% in orders YoY. Consumers were also browsing for Footwear as clicks soared by 330%. Food & Drink saw the largest jump YoY, with 80% increase in orders as consumers discover new ways to access everyday essentials while they stay home.

Sub-Network and Coupons & Voucher publishers on the rise

APAC consumers’ preference for publisher sites has also changed from 2019 to 2020. Sub-Networks, which consist mainly of content creators and influencers, drove the largest number of clicks during this period as consumers spent more time indoors and screen time heightened. This publisher model experienced a growth of 193% in clicks and 66% in orders YoY leading up to Lunar New Year.

Loyalty & Rewards sites remain the top publisher model driving the largest number of clicks and orders during this time. Coupon & Voucher sites also experienced a 48% growth in orders YoY.

With many types of affiliate publishers growing at a rapid pace, it’s more important than ever for brands to diversify their publisher portfolio and forge new partnerships. Advertisers can use historical performance data and optimise their affiliate program based on results.

Reaching consumers this Lunar New Year

To help advertisers make the most of this Lunar New Year, we spoke to market experts from our Publisher Development team for their tips and tricks as we head into one of Asia’s biggest events of 2021.

  • Leverage both Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day: This year, Lunar New Year falls on 12th February, only two days before Valentine’s Day. Advertisers can create attractive offers and partner with publishers who are running events across both key dates. For example, 55Haitao – a cashback publisher with audiences across Greater China, United States and Japan – will launch their Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day shopping event from 4th to 15th February. In addition to special deals during the event period, they will also offer a 20% supersized cashback to their users, allowing advertisers to maximise both key shopping dates.
  • Gamify the shopping experience: When it comes to new ways to shop, gamification is all the rage. While not all brands have the resources to develop and execute a gamified shopping experience, advertisers can partner with publishers who do. As part of Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day and Spring Festival, Beyond – a concierge publisher specialising in cross-border transactions from international brands to China – will launch in-app minigames from 1st to 18th February, designed to encourage customers to interact with the app and entice them to make a purchase. Additionally, the app will offer site-wide free shipping to its customers among many other deals available during this period.

It’s not too late to reach Lunar New Year customers. Speak to your Rakuten Advertising account representative or visit for more information.