What is Single’s Day?
Single’s Day, or Double 11, is China’s biggest shopping event and it occurs every year on 11 November. As the name suggests, it was started to celebrate being single by university students who didn’t have dates for Saint Valentine’s. It is celebrated on 11/11 because the number ‘1’ resembles an individual who is alone. The holiday quickly spread and even though it was initially celebrated only by men, it has become popular among women as well.
When the holiday started gaining popularity in China, in 2009 Alibaba decided to launch its first shopping bonanza for Single’s Day with only 27 merchants taking part of it. This year over 200 000 merchants participated according to the company. Even though Double 11 is not officially recognized as a holiday in China, it has become the biggest online shopping day in the world.
In 2009 the first official Single’s Day generated almost 50 million yuan. Over the years Single’s Day sales have skyrocketed. This year, Alibaba broke a new record – during the first 1 minute and 8 seconds they pulled in 7 billion yuan in sales, and recorded over 268 billion yuan at the end of the day.
New business opportunities in China
On one hand, the success of this shopping holiday is due to the size of the Chinese consumer market. On the other hand, it is due to the widely promoted idea of self-care. Western brands have recognized this opportunity and more and more brands participate in Double 11 every year.
E-commerce has become a key driver in China’s retail sector. Online retail sales rose 16.8 percent year-on-year to reach 7.32 trillion yuan during the January-September period, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Online marketplaces use key opinion leader marketing, social media and live streaming to drive sales in best-selling categories such as apparel, skin care, cosmetics and food and beverages.
There are still many new e-commerce opportunities in China coming from following factors:
- the potential of the prospering low-tier city market and young generation
- a broad membership network with special benefits for high quality loyal consumers
- continued omni-channel efforts to engage more consumers in diverse shopping occasions
Online platforms highlighted the importance of new product strategies to drive a raise in consumption through new brands, new categories and new products. There were over 100 million new products released on Double 11 on different platforms by more than 90% of the leading FMCG brands. 50% of the beauty brands brought forward Christmas gift box release. Over 400 new brands were introduced only on Tmall, with luxury brands announcing flagship stores opening before 11/11. Tmall also announce new categories in which they doubled in sales compared to last year – beauty, pets, mom&baby, coffee beans. Some of the best-selling products this year from over 22 000 over-seas brands were dietary supplements, facial masks, cosmetics, beauty tools.
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