Our advice on buying branded USB memory sticks during Chinese New Year is simple – don’t do it. Not only should you avoid trying to buy them during Chinese New Year but if you can, you should also avoid buying them just before and just after these particular holidays.
Almost without exception all USB memory sticks are manufactured in China so when China closes for a national holiday all production stops. In 2014, Chinese New Year (also known as the Spring Festival) starts early – the actual day is 31st January but factories and offices will start to close from around the 21st January and many won’t re-open until the 10th February!
So, for nearly 3 weeks NO USB sticks will be manufactured. In the run-up to the holidays the factories come under intense pressure to push through all orders before they close and on their return things are equally as chaotic as they try and deal with a 3 week backlog. It’s not just the closure of the factories that cause problems – in the rush before the holidays the International Courier services out of China and Hong Kong (UPS, Fedex, DHL etc.) get swamped and it’s not unusual for shipments to get “bumped” off overloaded flights. In summary chaos ensues.
The other big impact this extended holiday has on USB sticks is to push up prices – it’s a classic “supply and demand” scenario with too many customers trying to buy limited stock. Price increases of 10% – 20% are not unusual and for certain styles the price increases can be even higher.
Perhaps the biggest issue for any business looking to buy promotional USB memory sticks in early 2014 is uncertainty – uncertainty on price, uncertainty on availability and uncertainty on whether any order will actually arrive when it’s needed!
At USB2U we’ve lived through Chinese New Year for the last 11 years and we still carry the scars but fortunately we’ve learnt some valuable lessons along the way. Now we plan ahead, we encourage customers to buy early where they can, we load up with UK stock, we embargo all staff holidays, we set up overtime rotas for our in-house design and print teams and we generally prepare ourselves for a huge spike in demand for our UK “rush service” (we know from past experience that other suppliers will over promise and underestimate the impact of the Spring Festival and we often end up picking up the pieces).
Our core advice remains the same this year as it has been in all previous years – order you USB sticks now – you’ll get better prices, you’ll get your sticks for when you need them and you’ll won’t have to worry or stress about whether they are going to turn up on time.