Year of the Dog sees record visitors during weekend festivities

28th Feb 2018

Chinese New Year once again proved to be a real crowd pleaser in Manchester, with over 200,000 people pouring into the city centre to enjoy the celebrations to see in the Year of the Dog.

The Manchester BID (Business Improvement District), FCAM (Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester) and Manchester City Council coordinated a full weekend of activities across the shopping district and Chinatown.

Thousands of red lanterns brightened the city’s streets, St Ann’s Square was home to the BID’s giant Golden Dragon, and Manchester’s department stores, fashion, jewellery and independent retailers got into the spirit of things hosting a variety of events, promotions and giveaways, with some city centre stores enjoying double digit uplifts in sales year on year.

Selfridges Exchange Square had a number of activities in-store, including live portraits by fashion illustrator Dom & Ink and a Chinese calligrapher, while Harvey Nichols hosted a special shopping event with live DJ sets, food and drink tastings and fashion customisation. House of Fraser showed a Chinese New Year inspired window display and offered a range of beauty hall experiences.

On the Sunday, traditional Red Envelopes were handed out at Metrolink’s Exchange Square, with lucky passengers in with a chance of winning shopping vouchers worth up to £250.

The Manchester BID continued to work with local illustrator Stanley Chow to create the striking Year of the Dog artwork used in the marketing campaign, following the zodiac designs for the Year of the Horse, Ram, Monkey and Rooster.

Jane Sharrocks, General Manager of Selfridges Exchange Square and Chair of the Manchester BID, said: “We’ve been delighted to be part of the growth of Manchester’s Chinese New Year event, which is now one of the largest in the UK. We continue to work in partnership with FCAM and Manchester City Council to evolve the contemporary and traditional activities on offer, to ensure more and more people and businesses can enjoy and benefit from the annual festival.”

“There are so many different ways retailers and food and drink operators can get involved with the celebrations and it was great to see a real range of events this year, and a surge in spend and footfall as a result. Chinese New Year continues to demonstrate the positive impact city-wide events can have on the retail sector, particularly when it engages so enthusiastically with an event.”

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester city centre spokesman said: “These figures prove once again that Chinese New Year is a real draw for visitors, with people coming into the city centre from all over the region in their tens of thousands to enjoy the festivities, and spend time in the shops, restaurants and bars across the centre.

“It’s always a wonderful affair and once again Manchester didn’t fail to deliver an outstanding event.”

Footfall and Sales Headlines

  • Footfall +3.2% vs same weekend last year
  • Footfall +12.5% 18 February – 24 February week
  • Sales +2.3% 18 February – 24 February week against -2.3% for UK

Marketing Campaign 

The city’s marketing and PR campaign was delivered by the CityCo/BID team and assisted by Marketing Manchester, Metrolink and the Council with a range of on and offline media support. Many shops displayed our Stan Chow ‘Year of the Dog’ branding, POS and window vinyls.

Coverage included large-scale digital screens and poster sites, what’s on listings at which received 69,000 views, hanging banners in St Ann’s Square and around the Town Hall, 100+ tram network posters and retail window vinyl/POS displays.

We ran an integrated social campaign across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels with engaging content, videos and participatory competitions. Facebook engagement was 27% through the campaign: posts reached 47,306 people, 13,000 of these directly engaged with content and followers increased by 17%. Twitter followers increased by 11%. 6997 people watched one of our animated illustrations.

The PR campaign led to £1.77million AVE of media coverage across 114 local, regional and international outlets including China Daily, The Sun, The Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Waitrose Magazine and ITV. The BID’s giant ‘Golden Dragon’ made an appearance on BBC Breakfast for a live broadcast at MediaCityUK and we ran a series of interviews on BBC Radio Manchester and Key 103.


View our Chinese New Year album

With thanks to our marketing partners TfgM Metrolink, Manchester City Council and Marketing Manchester.