Think Cyber Monday and Black Friday are a big deal? Here’s an even bigger shopping festival that is truly…singular

This blog was written by Yoma Zhu, MultiConnexions’ Chinese Social Media Executive.

As the Western world collectively loses their minds over today’s Cyber Monday (and Black Friday) shopping deals in the pre-Christmas buying frenzy, MultiConnexions, as multicultural and Asian marketing experts, would like to humbly issue a friendly Public Service Announcement and remind everyone that China does it bigger and better (and earlier) with Singles’ Day.

Singles’ Day is China’s very own shopping day which runs on and around November 11 every year. The date ’11.11’ consists of four ‘ones’, representing single people. Chinese are fond of numbers and their symbolism, so this works well as a special day for single people to spoil themselves. From what began as online retailer Alibaba’s big sale day, Single’s Day has gradually grown to become a festival for retailers to do big promotions and actively encourage single people to buy with special offers and incentives.

This year was the eleventh year of the shopping festival and Alibaba’s promotional activities featured live streaming and celebrity endorsements. This year, Chinese consumer spending on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms alone amounted to USD 38.4 billion (with over USD 1.3 billion being spent in the first 2 minutes), smashing last year’s record and the records for Black Friday and Cyber Monday which are pale in comparison.

In essence, China’s Singles’ Day is Cyber Monday and Black Friday on steroids.

Chinese in Australia readily embrace the trend too, with many ‘daigou’ making big bucks during the festival (that’s people living here who purchase items for people back home in China for a profit). Daigou in Australia often run their own Singles’ Day promotions with items ranging from baby formula to health products and more – often causing items to sell out on Australian shelves, sometimes to the bewilderment of retailers here.

Some clever Australian brands have secured an early mover advantage too especially among daigou buyers. In 2016, Chemist Warehouse made $2 million in the first 13 minutes of Singles’ Day, benefiting from approaching 720 million Chinese customers directly on TMall – the biggest ecommerce platform in China. In 2018, Swisse Vitamins became the best-selling Australian brand on Singles’ Day, with sales revenue increasing by 775 per cent.

These great results reveal much more than how shopping-crazy Chinese people are! These results should be a sobering wake-up call to Australian retail brands – in a struggling industry – to consider targeting Chinese consumers in Australia by launching new products and campaigns to boost their revenue.

Photo Credit: WeSydney

Chemist Warehouse works with Guoguo, the logistics company run by Alibaba to speed up deliveries to China.

Photo Credit: ABC News

Celebrities Bingbing Fan and Nicole Kidman play a vital role as brand ambassadors in China/ Australia

As one of the biggest ecommerce platforms, this year eBay provided customers with 11% and 15% AliExpress cashback to celebrate Singles’ Day. Collaborating with Amazon, Booking, Groupon and other big names, eBay successfully approached more new customers via this site-wide promotion.

A recent successful and timely Priceline Singles’ day promotion offered half-price and 40 per cent discounts on popular brands. Online customers could have free delivery for every $50 spend rather than $100 previously. Priceline also offers Chinese payment methods such as WeChat Pay and Union Pay.

In 2018, Chinese customers at home and abroad spent $154 billion on luxury items – equivalent to a third of the global spend. To capitalise on this huge potential, this year David Jones ran a Chinese focussed promotion offering: ‘save 10% on a range of full-priced women’s international designer fashion, shoes and accessories’ and ‘save 20% on a range of full-priced men’s designer fashion, shoes and accessories.’

Singles’ Day is a good opportunity for brands and retailers to do flash sales and prove themselves as a trendy brand who knows what their Chinese customers want.

Don’t worry if you missed out on running promotional activities this year, contact MultiConnexions today to map out a Chinese retail strategy for 2020.

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