Dec 28, 2010

Timing Matters!! ---Running online research in Asia : 2

The holiday season is here and year 2010 is coming to an end. In Western countries, New Year is one of the biggest holiday seasons and is usually the time for family reunions. Likewise, numerous big events which are usually accompanied by many fireworks and illuminations are held in major cities around the world. Because of this, many people go back to their hometown to celebrate the New Year with their family. However, this is not the case in some Asian countries.

In countries like China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and South Korea, people do celebrate Solar New Year (January 1st), but Lunar New Year is given more importance. Lunar New Year is based on the ancient lunisolar calendar and each country celebrates the day in its own unique way.

In China, New Year is also known as zheng yue; the New Year Festival begins on the first
day of the first month and ends with a traditional Lantern Festival. The whole New Year Festival lasts 15 days and during this period, people usually return home for the family reunion. In celebration of the traditional holidays, people eat a lot of homemade food, exchange gifts with relatives, and set off firecrackers.

Korean New Year, commonly known as Seollal, is generally the same day as the Chinese New Year. Traditionally, people return home for the annual family reunion. Most of them travel home by car hence a very heavy traffic on highways is one of the most typical scenarios during this period. People in Korea commemorate this holiday by eating traditional foods, visiting family graves, and playing games.

With the recent rapid growth of the economy, travelling abroad during Lunar New Year is becoming more common in Asian countries. But despite this, the majority of people still return to their hometowns to visit and celebrate with their family and relatives.

During the Lunar New Year, most people do not spend time using the Internet and answering online surveys as much as they usually do. And the survey participation rate is quite low during this period. This might be a major factor that marketing research companies tend to overlook. Therefore, if you are thinking of running studies in Asia, we highly recommend avoiding fieldwork during this period.