Shopping malls put a modern spin on CNY
FROM Facebook games to ice-skating, Chinese New Year might seem less traditional than before as malls here put a modern spin on the festival.
313@somerset in Orchard Road has created a Tree of Prosperity mobile app, where users grow virtual seedlings into trees by inviting their Facebook friends to participate.
The person with the tallest tree at the end of the game wins $1,000 worth of shopping vouchers.
The mall has stuck to shopping promotions in previous years.
But it decided to add a digital element this year, as shoppers become increasingly tech-savvy, said general manager Cheryl Goh.
JCube in Jurong East is organising a masked ball at its ice-skating rink, while encouraging patrons to turn up in traditional Chinese costumes.
Others are taking a musical route. Paragon in Orchard Road is getting musicians to play jazz renditions of traditional songs, while Parkway Parade in Marine Parade has hired a drummer to thump out some festive tunes as well as compose songs with shoppers.
This modernisation, said Dr Lynda Wee, adjunct associate professor of marketing and international business at Nanyang Technological University, could be a pitch to attract youth.
Chinese New Year, she said, is often viewed by youth as "rooted in value systems" and "driven by tradition", hence malls may be trying to change that by encouraging them to shop during this period.
"With online shopping, youth have other avenues to fulfil their shopping needs. Therefore, malls need to rethink their approach to engage youth."
She added: "Festive decor and music appeals to instinct, which boosts impulsive shopping. Youth may be compelled to shop more when malls modernise their decor."
Already, the red packet is increasingly a misnomer, with more firms offering gold, purple and even neon-pink packets to stand out, according to a recent Straits Times report.
Shopper Leanne Chan, 17, said that such promotions would not attract her to a mall if it is in a far-flung location she does not frequent.
But such promotions may lure customers like Zera Ong, 18. The student said that they work better than the usual lion dances.
She said: "I like events that capture the festive mood, especially if it is something with a twist. An event that's a fusion of the old and new would be more attractive."
However, some places are sticking to tradition. Funan DigitaLife Mall is decorated with traditional-looking pink and red flowers, as it has done so for the past several years.
Mr Andrew Goh, the mall's marketing-communications executive, said: "This mall has been adapting this approach...as it is in line with our focus to foster a conducive shopping environment for good-value purchases during the festive season."