Have you heard of Singles Day China? If not and you want to market to the Chinese consumer, read on for more information about the most important shopping day of the year!
2018 Singles’ Day recap!
- +140,000 brands participated in this special day, including 60,000 global brands like Lululemon, Adidas, Bose, Gap, Nike, Macy’s, Zara, and the list goes on. Brands from the U.S. Germany, Australia, Japan, and South Korea have been taking part in the day and are among the top international brands preferred by Chinese consumers.
- 15 million products were listed during the sale with wellness and baby products, such as diapers, vitamins, milk powders, etc., being some of the most popular products.
- 812 million orders were placed, and more 1.48 billion payments were processed through Alipay, with 90% of those done on a mobile device.
What is “Singles Day” in China?
November 11, in China, celebrates people not in relationships, its symbolizing singletons. Double 11 (the 11th of November) marks Singles’ Day or 光棍节 Guanggunjie. The idea originated in the 90s when on this day Chinese university students without a date would organize group activities to be united in their loneliness. The date resembles a pair of single 1’s (11.11) which also looks like sticks or 棍子 gun zi. The Chinese name then evolved to 光棍 guanggun which translates to “single person” or “bachelor”. Over the years it has evolved into a day to celebrate singledom; a bachelor or bachelorette’s response to Valentine’s Day (no doubt aided by the gentle encouragement of marketing and advertising agencies…)
Evolution of the Chinese” Single day”
Since 2009, Alibaba started offering Singles Day discounts and has then turned the day into a 24-hour bonanza of online shopping in China.
Other big players on Chinese e-commerce platforms like JD.com and regular brick-and-mortar stores also take part in this event and it’s started to gain traction outside China. Alibaba’s Southeast Asia subsidiary Lazada also offered Singles Day discounts in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Actually, the Chinese Singles Day event is not just in China, international companies give attention to Alibaba’s famous live telecast and its many online platforms, willing to hawk everything from clothes to sports cars.
Imported goods realized a significant amount of sales. A recent survey showed that 57% of Chinese consumers expect to buy overseas goods during the event.
Japan, the United States, and South Korea were the top three countries from which Singles Day shoppers bought products this year.
Despite the trade war between the Trump administration and Beijing this year, The United States remained in the No. 2 spot. Last September, Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma said that the conflict with China’s largest trade partner is hurting the company’s business.
New record for Alibaba during the double eleven 2018
Alibaba smashed through its Singles Day sales record on Sunday. It beat last year’s figure in Yuan earlier than it toppled the dollar record. The Chinese Yaun is still weaker against the greenback from a year ago, which means more sales in yuan are required to get the same dollar amount.
2018 marked the 10th edition of the annual Singles Day event, which is also called the Double 11 shopping festival because it happens on Nov. 11. During the 24-hour period, Alibaba offered huge discounts across its e-commerce sites such as Tmall.
Alibaba’s Singles Day sales surpassed easily the spending by consumers during any single U.S. shopping holiday.
The event took a strong start with sales hitting $1 billion in one minute and 25 seconds. Just over an hour, and sales exceeded $10 billion, five minutes and 21 seconds faster than last year. The number of delivery orders surpassed a billion.
New Strategy: New Retail
The Chinese giant Alibaba is putting a big focus this year on a new strategy it calls “new retail,” which aims to associate the online parts of its business with the offline. For example, it has a chain of grocery stores called Hema which allow users to go in and shop, pay with their phone and walk out. The Starbucks deal is part of the new retail strategy.
“When we talk about new retail, we strongly believe that online commercial world and offline brick mortars are not separate worlds. And if you look at the customer base today, everyone is living on the internet. Everybody is the internet user. You have the same customer base. You must have the same commercial world. It’s all about how to innovate online and offline to a whole digitalized commercial world,” Zhang told CNBC.
Top E-Commerce Platforms that perform for double 11 in China
New score for JD.com
Alibaba was followed by JD, the other major e-commerce platform in China, which contributed 21.41 percent of the $38.2 billion in sales in China. Suning and Amazon China accounted for 4.34 percent and 1.95 percent, respectively Alibaba’s major e-commerce rival JD.com also got a good score around $2.3 billion (RMB 159.8 billion) during the Singles’ Day, according to the company’s spokesperson.
Singles’ Day represents an important metric to measure the health of China’s economy. The country’s growth has shown signs of a slowdown in recent months as China entered the trade war with the United States and its credit/debt issues.
The evolution of sales growth actually slowed, with a 27 percent climb this year compared to 39 percent in last year and 32 percent in 2016.
Alibaba is still on the top of sales, with $25.3 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) from the double 11 this year, accounting for 66.23 percent or about two-thirds of the entire online sales in a day.
All the products sold on Alibaba platforms that need to be shipped from merchants overseas accounted for 5.4 percent of its entire sales. On JD and Suning, products from overseas accounted for 4.9 percent and 0.6 percent, while Amazon China has relatively higher 7.3 percent sales for global goods.
This year, some products like, big appliances and mobile phones contributed most sales value, around 15.2 percent and 8.7 percent of overall amounts, respectively. Personal care, maternity and children’s goods, small appliances, and cosmetics had 5.6 percent, 3.6 percent, 2.8 percent, and 2.5 percent of the overall sales in China this year.
The research firm also suggested that 91.2 percent of the Singles Day sales are from mobile terminals like mobile phones. Big promotions about the single day Nov 11 usually start at the beginning of November with huge discounts and give always lined up. Some e-commerce platforms start very early; for example, 360buy started its one-month “Desert Storm” Promotions on Oct 10, offering coupons which value 50 million Yuan in total.
We also noted:
- Suning: which started promotions called “Zero purchasing Within 300 hundred Yuan”. After spending 300 hundred yuan on suning.com, consumers could get coupons with the same value. Coupons could also be used in more than 1700 offline Suning stores.
- Gome Online Mall: also continuingly made efforts to supply goods at discount prices, which scaled 1 billion Yuan in total, lowering the online prices for approximately 40%.
- Tmall: advanced rushing purchases of coupons and successive rounds of promotions are started at 10:00, 14:00, and 20:00 every day until the double 11 Besides Tmall, Alibaba also supported Taobao to take part in this shopping festival. More than 10,000 businesses are involved, which is 5 times of that compared to last year.
- International Consumers: Tmall World, AliExpress and Lazada brought the event to hundreds of millions of overseas users, making 11.11 a truly global event. Lazada hosted its first 11.11 Shopping Festival across six countries in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, offering more engaging consumer experience and the biggest discounts of the year from LazMall and Lazada marketplace.
Moreover, Dangdang has its “Fire Promotions” from Nov 9 until Nov 11. In the meantime, it will celebrate its third anniversary.
This year, over 180,000 brands from China and around the world participated to the Single day. For the same event, nearly 200,000 smart stores in China across the apparel, fast-moving consumer goods, beauty products, automobile, and home décor industries help boost traffic to offline and online shopping destinations. Tmall Global provides 3,700 categories of imported goods from 75 countries and regions on its platform.
During, this same date, about 200,000 mom-and-pop stores powered by Alibaba’s Ling Shou Tong provides online sales promotions and increased reality-based red packets that offer discounts at 3,000 “Tmall Corner Stores.” Rural Taobao will also bring coupons to its services in 800 counties across 29 provinces in China.
Brands collaborated with Chinese for the “Double Eleven”
Cash in on China’s growing middle class with influencer marketing
The explosive growth of China’s middle class has also brought a rapid social and economic transformation over the last decade. It’s really amazing that “more than 75% of China’s urban consumers will earn 60,000 to 229,000 RMB ($9,000 to $34,000) a year by 2022.”
Recent studies show that China’s “post-90s generation” are more likely to research a product or service before making a purchase compared to generations before them. This generation is also more likely to research niche brands and maintain loyalty to brands they trust.
For those businesses who want to target this growing, middle-class population, working with influencers is still a worthwhile option to achieve your marketing goals. Whether it’s working with celebrity influencers or micro-influencers (KOL with the impact to reach a large audience), it’s important to understand if creating a partnership with influencers is right for your brand and business.
Micro-influencers or KOLs tend to attract followers within niche areas of interest. Unlike celebrity influencers, micro-influencers often voice their opinions and recommendations out of a passion for a specific interest instead of money. If you haven’t already tried influencer marketing, there are good opportunities to find the right influencer to help enhance your brand.