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Why does Chinese New Year affect my merchandise orders?

It's well known a lot of items are manufactured in the far east, but why does Chinese New Year affect the production of promotional merchandise more than other household items?

What is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year is a two week festival celebrating the start of a new lunar year. 2024 is the Year of the Dragon in Chinese culture.

Why and how is my merchandise order affected?

The majority of factories in China shut down for the two week festival. This means that any orders produced in Chinese factories need to be finished and despatched before the break begins. 

Afterwards, when production begins again, there is usually a backlog, so your items will take longer than usual to reach you. This means affected items could take 5-6 weeks to arrive instead of the usual 3-4 weeks.

Why is not everything made in China affected?

While much promotional merchandise is made in China, it is not all made 'complete'. Many popular items such as notebooks, pens and bags will often be bulk manufactured without branding, in all manner of colours, and stored 'on the shelf' in the UK or Europe, ready for printing locally as and when needed.

It's the more bespoke items like lanyards, metal badges, wristbands and bespoke moulded items that are made from raw components, and are not as easily overprinted - and the results are far better when made from scratch.

And of course, much of our extensive product range isn't made in China anyway - we have huge ranges of products manufactured from scratch in the UK, Germany, Italy and elsewhere in Europe.

How can I avoid the delays?

Orders required in February and March should be placed as early in possible to achieve best value.

Depending on the item, we will often have UK manufactured alternatives, too. 

You'll pay a bit more for a UK made item, but the quality is always great. While UK made items often have better lead times year-round, production gets much busier around Chinese New Year, so the usual 5 or 7 day lead times are unlikely at this time.

Are there any other occasions to watch for?

There's also the lesser known Chinese national holiday, which is approximately a week shutdown in September/October, which will impact on lead times in Autumn.

It's also worth bearing in mind our own bank holidays, particularly if Easter is late in the year. You can end up with a six week period in April/May with three bank holidays, which can cause delays in production and courier deliveries.

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