While Black Friday is a well-known commercial tradition in America, China has their own version with Singles’ Day. What started out as an anti-Valentine’s Day movement has quickly morphed into one of the most lucrative shopping days for businesses, particularly online retailers, thanks to Alibaba. The latest round this 2017 has come and gone and saw record sales of $25 billion in total, acheiving $8.7 billion within the first three minutes.
So, what can marketers expect or do to help with their ROI? Here’s a quick list of the top three trends over the past few years:
1. Expect repeat customers to be the majority
Another ironic fact is that the majority is not single either. Despite the date 11/11 that was chosen because the numerals resemble “four lonely sticks,” a survey by Nielsen on the Chinese consumer found that over 60% of buyers were married couples. So, when running a promotion or campaign, don’t sabotage yourself by making it very single-specific.
2. In-app and social media advertising is the most popular way for consumers to hear about 11/11
This is because Singles’ Day remains a very digitally driven space, with many intending to shop through apps (YouGov reports 40%), as opposed to websites. Keep this in mind when deciding your media buy and considering visibility factors; your campaigns and images should be mobile-friendly.
3. Women are looking at fashion, while men are looking at tech gadgets
Clothes, accessories, shoes, and bags are some of the most lucrative and popular items amongst consumers. According to YouGov, 72% of women are more likely than men (at 57%) to be browsing for clothes, accessories and more. Men, on the other hand, are intending to spend on digital products and games.
Sales were $17.8 billion in 2016. This year has brought in $25 billion, with upcoming years projected to show no signs of slowing down.
Spending trends are also affected by age group. It was found that younger consumers (18-24 years) are more conservative in their spending as opposed to those aged 35-44 years. This is quite possibly linked to their spending power, and regardless what day it is, price comparison is still one of the most important factors in deciding which retailer to use in consumers’ minds.
The West should look to the East
While Western countries such as America may have their own permutations of Singles’ Day, i.e. global sales-fest, it’s clear that there are several opportunities that brands and marketers can take advantage of. In particular, Alibaba’s B2C platform Tmall. While TaoBao gave Tmall a run for its money last year, real estate on 11/11 on Tmall is still prime, and here are a few of the early adopters who have enjoyed success with their online storefronts:
- Luxury retailer: Burberry
- Cosmetics: Estée Lauder
- Sports: Nike
- High Street Fashion: Zara
- Automobile: Tesla (who managed to sell out their Model S just before Single’s Day)
Yet another vertical that does well is food. Iconic brands such as Costco Wholesale from the US and U.K’s Sainsbury have been selling their food products to Chinese consumers with much success.
While Jack Ma’ vision of turning Single’s Day into a global holiday may still be a long way off, the size of the opportunity during Single’s Day in China, particularly online, is something many brands would be silly to ignore given the numbers in performance for the past two years. While consumers get their game on in preparation for some serious spending, marketers and brands would do well to look at how they can maximise their media buying and other marketing efforts in time for the big day.
* This story has been edited to reflect the latest figures and was first published on MarTech Series. To view the original, click here.
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