From tackling the world’s largest market in China…
Originally celebrating singlehood in 90s China, Singles’ Day has evolved into the world’s largest offline and online shopping festival, propelled by Chinese online retail mastodons such as Alibaba, Tmall or Taobao every 11th of November.
Nowadays, single or not, Chinese still celebrate this day to buy clothes, electronics, and home furniture. Last year’s edition defied all expectations. Alibaba Group set a record $30.8 billion worth of sales in 24 hours in 2018, with $1 billion registered in the first 90 seconds of the event. By comparison the same year, American e-commerce titan Amazon registered $7.9 billion on Cyber Monday and $6.22 billion on Black Friday.
If Singles’ Day has yet to be recognised an official holiday in China, the event has well and truly become part of Chinese popular culture. Whether local Chinese brands or international brands, retailing their products via online platforms such as Alibaba, Tmall or Taobao is a unique moment to reach millions of Chinese consumers at once, recruit new clients and build lasting brand power. Typically, Chinese shoppers will have filled their online shopping cart before D-Day and set an alarm at midnight to enjoy fantastic deals and promotional coupons.
…to international expansion
For 2017 Singles’ Day, outside mainland China, Russia, Hong Kong and the USA came out as the top markets, with bestselling products varying from mobile phones to wool coats and knitted sweaters. In 2018, 40% of online buyers purchased items from international brands, with 237 international brands such as Apple, Kindle, L’Oréal or Estée Lauder surpassing $14 million in total sales.
With these numbers in mind, it is fair to say the retail frenzy around Singles’ Day is not quieting down anytime soon and will carry on spreading to other markets.
International retailers: 4 wining strategies to conquer Singles’ Day high potential
1. Couple promotions with digital experience
Where American sales festivals such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are price-driven concepts, the success of China’s Singles’ Day revolves around brands engaging with their audience through games and entertainment for a fun-filled and social experience lasting 24 hours. Online shoppers for instance may play games across Alibaba apps to win coupons, log on digital app Youku to play a game of lucky wheels and a lot more!
2. Market to your niche consumers
Instead of chasing a broad market, the most successful brands during Singles’ Day have well identified their niche consumers, understanding their needs and motivation. In turn, according to Carla Anderson, Solution Market Director at Oracle Retail, this will allow retailers to “deliver the right product to the right location at the right time.”
3. Consider all demographic segments
From the get-go, Singles’ Day was designed to win the heart of the 400 million Chinese Millennials market, thanks to social media channels featuring “must buy recommendation lists”, augmented reality games… In the future however, several other demographic segments should be considered. The middle or “aspirational class” for example, will account for 56% of urban private consumption according to McKinsey and women increasing purchasing power will more than likely boost cosmetic and skincare brands’ sales.
4. Enhance your mobile strategy
Last year, 80% of purchases during Singles’ Day was emitted from a mobile device. Maintaining the interest of a more volatile and disengaged market becomes tricky in a digitized context. Whether it is live streams, interactive games or VR shopping experiences broadcasted on mobile devices, there are many mediums of communication at the disposition of international retailers at the conquest of Singles’ Day.
500 million shoppers are expected to flock online for this upcoming 11th edition of Singles’ Day, 100 million more than the previous year.