We all know what Tet means – the journey home to celebrate with family, loved ones and old friends. It’s a time to look back on the year past, as well as looking ahead to what the new year holds in store. It’s a time to eat well, meet old friends, make new friends and take time out from the daily grind. Is it though, a holiday of relaxation? Cimigo’s consumer research for TET tells us that for more and more mothers, especially working mums, that’s no longer the case.
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Consumer research for TET Vietnam
Cimigo’s research into the habits of mothers in the lead-up to and during Tet reveals some interesting changes in the way the lunar new year holiday period is being viewed in Vietnam. We’ve looked at several key elements of the Tet holiday to see how mums and wives go about their preparation for Tet. From food shopping to buying gifts to lucky money, our market research into this key consumer demographic suggests attitudes towards Tet are changing.
“I feel completely relaxed when I go back to my own parents’ home. Mum cooks me delicious meals and gives me rice cakes to put on my own alter.” 26-year old mother, Ho Chi Minh City
Of course, mothers in Vietnam see Tet as a hugely important time for family – both nuclear and extended – but this comes with the pressures of expectation and ensuring everything is perfect. Mums are telling us they welcome the opportunity to go back to their home towns to spend time with their parents and be involved in the festivities. However, in Hanoi especially, many mothers feel uncomfortable having to prioritise their husband’s family over their own. There seems to be a feeling that daughters-in-law are being judged, and even criticised, by their hosts.
“This Tet I stayed with my mother-in-law for New Year’s Eve. She told me that as I am married I ought to obey my husband’s family. She wouldn’t tolerate me going to my own mother’s house for such an important event like Tet”. 36-year old mother, Hanoi
Mums take pride in Tet preparations
Mums take huge pride in preparing for Tet. They want their family to see in the new year with plenty to eat and drink, and they enjoy hosting gatherings for friends and neighbours. They accept that household chores are a necessary part of this and welcome assistance from all family members, even if husbands can sometimes be a little slow to volunteer.
This communal aspect of Tet preparations is, according to Cimigo’s consumer research, a key part of bringing the family together to reconnect and look back together over the past year as well as thinking about the year ahead. However, it means that mums get less time to relax as they’re attending to the household chores so much.
During the year, mothers are finding it harder to spend time with all the family. They are themselves often working, the husbands are working longer hours and the children are busy with school, university studies or out-of-school activities. Particularly in cities, family lifestyles are rapidly changing so mothers look to Tet as being a time when there are fewer distractions and everyone can spend more time together.
This means the family can be more relaxed than they would be at home. Kids have no exams or tests to worry about; dads don’t have to battle the traffic in the daily commute and mums don’t have the pressure of maintaining the work/family life balance. With both parents working, living standards are rising but with this comes higher expectations and pressure. Mums are telling us that whilst Tet was once a time to switch off from the ‘daily grind’, they are in fact still having to work hard over the holiday season.
“My finances this year have increased, so I’m happy to buy my mum more things and contribute more to her worshipping.” 39-year old mother, Hanoi
Tet preparations can be gruelling
The work of Tet begins, for a lot of mothers, with the pre-holiday shopping, which comes with its own pressures that add to mothers’ workloads. Consumer research shows that, with time pressures before and during Tet, mums think hard about where to shop (for example, supermarkets for quality and wet markets for freshness), when to shop (for example, stockpiling non-perishable goods in advance) and what to buy.
Mums are often in charge of all the family’s requirements – beer for dad, sweet treats for the kids, worship offerings, gifts for other family members and so on.
“I come to the kitchen in the morning, straight after waking up, and feel totally exhausted after cooking all day.” 42-year old mother, Ho Chi Minh City
This workload and responsibility is generally something mothers don’t enjoy after a year of working hard at home and in their jobs. So it’s not surprising then that mums want the shopping experience to be as straightforward as possible. They’re looking for convenience matched with quality and freshness as well as – for these special occasions – a touch of luxury.
“Tet food is always the same and no one nowadays is really excited by Tet food. When I was a child, we wanted Tet to come as we could eat as much as possible. Now my children don’t even touch a piece of rice cake. They have so many other choices.” 38-year old mother, Ho Chi Minh City
We can’t talk about shopping without mentioning money. Although there’s a growing economy, and household incomes have risen significantly in recent years, mothers tell us they still need to be careful with the family finances. Just because more purchases are made in the period before Tet doesn’t mean that shoppers aren’t looking for value. Mothers, who may well be buying for two or three family groups, want their money to stretch as far as possible so will be on the look-out for free offers and gifts as well as promotions that give them a chance to win and bring good fortune. This is Tet after all.
Mum yearns for appreciation at Tet
In conclusion, we can see that, unsurprisingly, mums want easier lives! Whilst they don’t like the additional stress that Tet adds to their already busy schedules, they don’t want to forego the traditions of the holiday period completely. Of course, family time is still hugely important. As is the chance to switch off (even if it’s just for a couple of days) but what mums are telling us is that they want help… simpler choices… better value for the money they’re spending… and they’re looking for brands that understand their pressures over the lunar new year.
TET delights and tensions for Mum
So, marketers, show mums some love and understanding. Show them that you appreciate the efforts and sacrifices mothers throughout Vietnam make for their families to ensure that Tet is such a special and memorable time of year.