Retail round-up: Lunar New Year airport pop-ups are a data-capture gift to beauty retailers

Lancome Renovated Absolue Cushion

DFNI associate editor, ALISON FARRINGTON reports on the travel retail beauty opportunity for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is upon us and travel retailers across Asia have been creating special promotions designed to attract passengers for the biggest Chinese shopping opportunity of the year. Travel retail or duty free shoppers are big business. Often referred to as the ‘Sixth Continent’, in 2018 the global market was worth $79bn.

Beauty remains the biggest and fastest-growing product sector in travel retail, while Asia Pacific is the category’s main growth driver. In 2018 the region saw beauty sales grow 23.5% to a total of $31.5bn. Beauty and fashion accessories are the biggest pull for Chinese travellers eager to snap up seasonal limited editions at the airport. This year’s theme is Year of the Rat (sometimes interpreted as a mouse) and we’ve seen brands adopting characterful themes such as Rocket Rat and even Mickey Mouse.

Kiehl's Chinese New Year pop-up at Singapore Changi Airport

The airport is where several brands such as Kiehl’s and Lancôme experiment with increasingly digital Chinese New Year ‘activations’. These pop-ups are designed to conjure emotion, provide social media currency and allow brands to create extended engagement opportunities. Popular attractions are wishing wells, calligraphy stations and digital animations such as photo booths or AR screen entertainment.

A few of our favorites this month include Kiehl’s (above) and Lancôme (top and below) in Singapore’s Changi where special edition products are part of the pop-up. The Kiehl’s pop-up showcases the brand’s celebration of the Year of the Rat with its Lunar New Year limited edition packaging, created by Australian artist Eirian Chapman. Kiehl’s celebratory range showcases the brand’s best sellers; the Ultra Facial Cream, Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol Free Toner, and Avocado Eye Cream.

“With a specially curated, customer-centric experience, guests are transported to the Kiehl’s universe upon stepping into the pop-up and are immersed in the discovery of Kiehl’s best-selling products through multiple digital touchpoints,” said Petrina Kho, General Manager, Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific.

Mixing the digital with the personal, guests are greeted with life-sized cut outs of Chapman’s illustrations that also provide colourful photo opportunities. A large replica of the famed Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream with the limited edition packaging is set as the “Make A Wish” New Year Wishing Booth. Visitors can use the interactive screens to write their Lunar New Year blessings on a rocket graphic and send as digital messages.

Meanwhile, over in another terminal at Changi, Lancôme has created a giant size red lantern pop-up to promote its Genefique skincare line. Several interactive elements are installed within the pop-up. A giant Genefique bottle with a digital screen and iPad stands at the entrance for travellers to send their Chinese New Year wishes onto the screen. A QR code opens a branded game for further product information delivered via guests’ smartphones and there are desks for keepsake self-assembly red lanterns, carrying the Lancôme logo.

Lancome Chinese New Year lantern making at Singapore Changi Airport

Inside the lantern, the focus is on creating experiences for travellers, said Tao Zhao, General Manager, Travel Retail Asia Pacific, Lancôme. “It’s very important to be connecting with consumers here. We’re celebrating Chinese New Year, not by a product, but by remembering an experience. A personalised wish, in addition to the lantern making and a few digital attractions.”

Connecting with consumers is key for both these beauty brand pop-ups. While Chinese are prolific travellers and (mostly) completely digitally-native via their constant usage of platforms such as WeChat, Alipay and Douyan (TikTok), providing brands with their personalised data in exchange for a digital experience is a no brainer. It’s a whole different mindset to Western consumers who still have privacy issues.

Lancome Lipstick mirror

Also worth a look is T Galleria by DFS in Hong Kong, that curates exclusive Lunar New Year timed products from jewellery, fashion or beauty brands. For this year’s offer, Tiffany & Co, Prada, Clinique and Estee Lauder have all collaborated. The LVMH-owned retailer (soon to open in the La Samaritaine building in Paris), has chosen to celebrate 2020’s Year of the Rat theme with all DFS store windows transformed into a fun, modern twist on a labyrinth, depicting the words ‘happiness’ and ‘rat’ in Chinese characters and where customers can seek out DFS exclusive products.

Some of our favourite special edition Chinese New Year beauty products for 2020 include:

Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate at Changi Airport

Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate at Changi Airport

Kiehl’s Lunar New Year limited edition packaging, created by Australian artist Eirian Chapman

Kiehls' Chinese New Year 2020 Gift Box
Kiehl's Lunar New Year 2020 Ultra Facial Cream

Clé de Peau Beauté The Serum Lunar New Year design with London-based Icelandic artist Kristjana Williams

Clé de Peau Beauté Le Serum - Chinese New Year

NARS Quad Eyeshadow
in Singapore*
NARS Singapore Quad Eyeshadow

Shiseido Beauty Blossom Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate

Shiseido Beauty Blossom Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate

SHISEIDO ModernMatte Powder Lipstick Holiday Mini Lip Bouquet

SHISEIDO ModernMatte Powder Lipstick Holiday Mini Lip Bouquet

Estee Lauder Red Advanced Night Repair Duo (order here)
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair duo for Chinese New Year

Jo Malone London English Pear & Freesia Cologne CNY Limited Edition 100ml (order here)
Jo Malone english pear and Fresia 100ml Chinese New Year

Kilian Rolling in Love
Kilian Rolling In Love


This post is contributed by DRG retail editor, ALISON FARRINGTON, who is associate editor at travel retail industry magazine, DFNIonline.comRead her previous posts on Disneyrollergirl here.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Alison Farrington
IMAGES: Credits t/c
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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