What is Chinese New Year? Chinese New Year (CNY) is one of the most important holidays in China. The annual national holiday allows residents of China to take at least a week-long break. The dates vary each year based on the lunar calendar, and normally falls somewhere between January and February. This year it falls on February 15 to 21, 2018.

Why does it matter? Shipping Shipping prices continue to stay high while vessel space decreases rapidly. Just like during the holiday season, you won’t be the only one trying to rush your shipments to the United States. Space on ships and planes book out several weeks in advanced, so expecting to get your goods placed on a vessel last minute will be virtually impossible. Expect the same kinds of delays as orders get queued up for shipping after Chinese New Year as well.

Factory Closures Factories can shut down from anywhere between one week to a full month, as workers travel across China to visit family. This is often the only time factory workers can visit their family throughout the year. Factories can close several weeks before Chinese New Year even starts, so, if they haven’t notified you by now, work with your specific manufacturer(s) to find out what dates you can expect for your factory to be closed for the holiday. You can also expect for a least a portion of your manufacturer’s staff to not come back after CNY. There are several reasons as to why this happens, but keep in mind that the quick turnaround that you are used to now may see a slower start after the holidays.

What can you do now? Plan and stock up on inventory early The big holiday boom just hit, and you’re overjoyed at the increase in sales you’ve been getting since Black Friday. Don’t let this distract you from what is about to happen after the holidays end: Gift cards. January can be just as profitable as the holiday season as Amazon.com gift cards become the hottest, all-encompassing stocking stuffers and presents. Returns also increase, meaning gift recipients can return their gifts for cash to spend on your products.

The worst thing you can do is… …bring the momentum you created through the holidays to a screeching halt once you run out of inventory. Your ranking will plummet while your competitors take advantage of the post-holiday sales that could have been yours. Meanwhile, you may be waiting weeks or even months until your inventory is back in stock at Amazon’s fulfillment centers. If you find yourself in this situation, air express shipping is pricey, but can be your best friend in a time crunch. Breaking even or running at a slight loss can potentially pay for itself many times over the future.

Delays after CNY After the holidays, every company sees a domino effect as they try to pick up momentum. Logistics companies cannot quote or ship goods because manufacturers or transportation companies aren’t open. Once the factories resume business, their raw material suppliers may not be fully operational yet. All this leads to you not being able to get your goods into Amazon as quickly as you would have hoped. Again, effective planning (and adding in extra time for potential and inevitable delays) is one of the best things you can spend your time on during this period.

Chinese New Year is later this year then it has been in the past and it will be in years to come. Take advantage of the extra time: Stay on top of your supplier and make sure to ship your goods early.