Amazon Sellers: Are You Ready for Chinese New Year?

By Tina Marie Bueno | January 12th, 2016

Most likely, holiday and post gift card orders are keeping you on your toes with inventory management. And just when you thought of taking a breather from the hustle, here is a three word reminder to Amazon Sellers sourcing from China: Chinese New Year (CNY).

Also known as Spring Festival; it is THE largest holiday for the whole country with over 3 billion trips made by the Chinese during a 40-day period surrounding it. Although the holiday officially begins February 7th and ends February 15th; factory office staff is normally off for at least 2 weeks and laborers have a minimum of 4 weeks.

Generally everything starts to shut down a week prior to the holiday so that workers can travel to their home towns which can take days. Unlike holidays in the U.S. which are etched in stone, many Chinese companies will close early, come back late, or possibly both with no warning. DHL, FEDEX, and UPS flights stop as well as cargo ships.

Helpful Hint:
Book shipments two weeks in advance
to ensure space on vessels.

According to East West Manufacturing, a leading U.S. global manufacturing company, “Our experience with prior CNY holidays tells us that we should conservatively plan for no production or shipments leaving China during late January and for reduced output during the first half of March 2016.”

If you haven’t already been gradually building up stock over the last couple of months, NOW would be the time to jump on it. At this point, you don’t have the luxury of ordering extra each month. Remember, March will be the month most affected since it will take time before everything returns to “business as usual”.

Helpful Hint:
Don’t wait until the last minute to push for deliveries, rushed orders
can come with defects that would not normally be allowed.  

As you most likely did for your Christmas holiday projections, review your average sales. However, be sure calculations also factor potential delays since some Chinese manufacturers have employees that take off even more time than the norm.  Also, sometimes factories are not back to being 100% staffed for an undeterminable amount of time.

Helpful Hint:
Source a backup manufacture in another country
(possibly domestically) to prevent shortages.

You may want to ask now when your contact in China can be reached pre and post holiday since phone calls and emails most likely will completely halt for at least two weeks. Know that those dates may fluctuate.

Finally, if you are behind the eight ball and just cannot get more product from China before the whole country shuts down; take a deep breath and let it go. You may be challenged during that 6 week time period to meet demand so how about taking this opportunity to test out higher pricing to slow down sales? You may even discover a new pricing threshold.

If you are a new Seller and still in sourcing mode, possibly look locally if that is a viable option. Otherwise, use this time to get those pending to-do’s on your Amazon checklist done. Also, could you use more research to enhance your current strategies and learn how to optimize your listing(s)? Just be sure to write Chinese New Year inventory preparations into your plans so you are prepared for next year.