In China, every June 1st is widely recognized as International Children’s Day. It is the most important shopping holiday on the calendar in the Mainland for toy companies and businesses targeting children. While the Western world’s toymakers prepare for December sales, back-to-school and Easter holidays, International Children’s Day in the Eastern world is the commercial equivalent of Christmas.
Each year on our marketing calendar at my China-focused toy company, we prepare for this holiday with proposals for new product launches, exclusive offers and marketing activities. We engineer events such as character meet-and-greets, make-and-take sheets and other interactive activities to showcase our brands and demonstrate our toys, with the hopes of building further brand awareness and driving toy sales.
But there’s a catch: Only the children officially get off school for this holiday while their parents must continue working. Last year, June 1st fell on a Monday, so the weekend leading up to this holiday was a bustling surge of activities and deals that drove massive crowds into large department stores and shopping centers throughout China. However, this year's June 1st landed on a Thursday – meaning there was less momentum on either side of this lonesome weekday. In perspective, the crowds at the stores were still present and store sales were still very strong.
More about the holiday: Children’s day was declared a national holiday for children on December 23, 1949 by the People's Republic of China. From that day forward, greater attention and value were attached to children's education and development. Young people begun to be described as the "the flowers of the country" and "successors of socialism". In addition to retail activities, there are many events in public parks, schools and stages across the country celebrating children’s arts and culture.