Double 11, Singles’ Day, Chinese Black Friday! You may have noticed signs or banners popping up around town or on your Wechat moments, indicating something BIG is happening on this date. What is happening and why should we care?
Chinese black Friday is happening right now! Are you taking the right steps?
Shopping is one of China’s national sports and Double 11 or ‘Singles’ Day’, where the e-commerce platforms lay the perfect hunting grounds, is a day where records are broken.
Singles’ Day – Once a day to celebrate your singleton, Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba, has transformed China’s ‘anti-Valentine’s Day’ into a frenzy of too good to be true online sales.
Today, Singles’ Day is the largest day of sales around the world that takes place every November 11th from midnight to midnight.
Perhaps better known as Double 11, recent Singles’ Day sales generate more revenue than America’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined!
Last year, Singles’ Day hit a record breaking $25.4 billion in sales in 24-hours, up 39% year on year.
What’s crazy about this giant day of sales is that more and more businesses, influencers, and countries want to take part in it.
History: 2017 Singles’ Day recap
- 140,000 brands participated in the day, including around 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 duringthe sale with wellness and baby products, such as diapers, vitamins, milk powders, etc., being some of the most popular products
- 812 million orders were made, and 1.48 billion payments were processed through Alipay, with 90% of those done on a mobile device.
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…)
In 2009, Jack Ma and his team at Alibaba Group Holdings decided to leverage off this unofficial celebration and heralded 11.11 as a national shopping event. Each year on Double 11, Alibaba’s various e-commerce platforms including Taobao, TMall and the more foreigner-friendly platform AliExpress, showcase heavily discounted products and services. Everything from kitchen appliances to cars to airline tickets can be purchased for a fraction of the retail price during this 24-hour online shopping frenzy.
Money-making history in 2018:
As the 10thanniversary of the Alibaba version of Singles’ Day approaches, it seems like everyone wants to take part in Singles’ Day in some way or another. This includes even more global brands, celebrities, influencers, and consumers
Alibaba’s recent press release states that 180,000 brands from both China and overseas will be participating in 2018. You can expect to see sales campaigns from leading international brands as well as smaller brands looking to make a breakthrough during the world’s biggest day of sales.
Take a look through Taobao and Tmall’s homepages to previews some of the pre-sales from brands like Zara, Uniqlo, North Face, UGG, Stella McCartney, Guess, and thousands more.
You can also expect to find unique imports from near-by countries. For example, this year Indonesia plans to cash in on Double 11 by offering a wide range of products on Alibaba, including Indonesian local specialties. Some of the products that will be offered include specialty snacks that hold medicinal benefits and one of the world’s most expensive coffee beans,  both of which are popular in China.
Breaking records in 2019
In 2019 Alibaba pushed the boundaries ones more and achieved 10 billion yuan sales in just one minute and 36 seconds! One of the factors of such high sales volumes was the launching of Double 11 sales in few countries of South East Asia, such as Malaysia and the Philippines. Live-streaming also took place that year and brought a new note to the festivities. 200,000 brands participated in Tmall’s online shopping festiva in 2019l, of which more than 20,000 are foreign. Chinese cosmetic and fashion bands broke into the “top 5” of sales volumes in their categories for the first time.
What to expect in year 2020 on the Double11 day?
As Alibaba keeps updating functions of Tmall and Taobao, this year it is all about live-streaming event! Other update on the Alibaba front: the pre-sales have started mid October, and many brands are shipping the good already! Expected to break all records, the festival is taking over offline spaces too, 90% of retailers hold 11.11 sales for all brands big and small!
This year Alibaba has moves the celebrations out of Hangzhou to Changsha (Hunan province) in cooperation with Hunan TV.
Influencers and KOC are being the busiest this season, and starting November 1st most will hold hourly sales streams. Wonder when shall you start preparing for 11.11? Our answer is: July!
Double 11 consumers behaviour at a glance
- Price is no longer the most important factor when it comes to purchasing, Chinese shoppers are now focused more on quality.
- Impulsive shopping is increasing as Chinese consumers’ have growing disposable incomes.
- Chinese consumers remain loyal to national influencers, meaning having the right influencer can strengthen your campaign.
- Food and Cosmetics are the top-of-mind categories for Chinese consumers.
- Chinese consumers prefer niche products that represent their lifestyles and their ideals.
- Live-streaming is expected to reach new heights this year.
- Alibaba will put even more efforts to new Ali-markets such as real estate.
- Improved AI of the ali apps is pushing consumers to discover products they didn’t even know they need!
You can expect to find a variety of brands utilizing technology that gives consumers the chance to see and select products that are in-store and in virtual stores. Virtual reality is being used to promote unique shopping experiences for consumers with high expectations from the day.
Whether you are planning to participate in Double 11 or not, you won’t want to miss out on the creativity that will be deployed to get consumers in the doors of shops and online making purchases.
Why shall you act now on joining the Singles’ day?
The phenomenal success of Singles’ Day is a snapshot of the times we are living in. China’s consumers are active, captive and connected by device, with more than 82% of the online transactions during last year’s Singles’ Day taking place via mobile application. Alibaba has intelligently capitalized on the consumer and technological trends that 21st century China has experienced over the last 10 years.
It is a culture of early adoption and rapid pace, where e-commerce is not seen as an add-on to a company’s marketing strategy, but increasingly the main event. It should be noted that Alibaba’s platforms do not themselves sell; they merely provide the interface or platform to enable the buyer to meet the seller.
Alibaba makes money by selling advertising space to sellers and takes a commission from larger retailers.
What Alibaba has done with Singles’ Day is turn it into a celebration of e-commerce. Celebrities, rock stars, pop stars and sports stars are flown in to help celebrate and the numbers generated from the country’s annual “spend-a-thon” are lit up on a big screen, with analysts eagerly noting down the breakdown of consumer metrics and data by industry, brand category, spending level, region etc.
Alibaba notes its strategy this year is to take Singles’ Day global with a stronger focus on imported products and services, as well as promoting its Chinese brands to overseas buyers. The growth won’t come without some challenges such as language barriers and compliance and trade regulations to adhere to.
However today we are seeing unprecedented levels of cross-border transactions and Singles’ Day celebrates the freedom to “treat youself” by simply swiping and clicking your way through the virtual shopping aisles of the world.
If you want to participate in Chines black Friday, you shall start looking for a TP (Tmall partner), who will represent your products on the platforms, localize your products to the Chine market and get some help from Chinese KOL using influencer marketing!
Happy Singles’ Day!
Are you preparing for this year’s Double 11? If so, take a look at the previous marketing strategies implemented brands during last year’s Double 11.
Double 11 in 2020: Strategies Chinese brands use to reach their sales goal over the years
Perfect Diary brand strategy
In 2019, Perfect Diary’s Singles’ Day sales topped the beauty makeup sales – making over 100 million RMB in just 90 minutes.
Perfect Diary combines the facial and skin characteristics of the Asian population with the European and American fashion trends, to develop a series of high-quality and easy-to-use cosmetic products for the new generation of women. The brand supports China’s fashion industry and aspires to become an internationally influential Chinese beauty icon. Perfect Diary supports the younger generation and believes that they should not be bound by external labels, band should instead actively explore more possibilities in life to become the best version of themselves.
Perfect Diary’s marketing strategy combines Celebrity endorsements with KOL corporation and KOC sharing on social media, with a goal to create an overwhelming response for the 618 and Double 11 shopping season!
Prior to 618 and Double 11, Perfect Diary launched a large number of new products and opted for celebrity endorsements and famous KOLs to help build a successful brand image and attract more interest from the public. The brand spent lots of money on KOL reviews.
Perfect Diary selected 2-3 new products, and invited small and medium-sized KOLS (with thousands of followers) to share the products on social media to attract more traffic and brand awareness. Just before 618 and Double 11, Perfect Diary invited popular celebrities to make recommendations and specifically focus on one or two products.
However, Perfect Diary needs new marketing methods to better enhance the brand’s interest and influence. So, their solution is Brand crossover. Like many brands, Perfect Diary looks for stars to better promote its products and events. The brand also takes advantage of the fashion week, with famous brands and supermodels seeking cross-industry cooperation. Perfect Diary also seeks cooperation with major international well-known IP.
For brand, this marketing approach not only helps the brand to penetrate into different consumer groups, but also expands its user circle and enhances the brand’s reputation.
Three Squirrels brand strategy
In 2019, Three Squirrels’ sales exceeded 1.049 billion Yuan.
Three Squirrels Co. LTD was founded in 2012 and its headquarters are located in Wuhu, Anhui province. It is the first online food brand in China and is the largest food e-commerce enterprise with the highest sales volume in China. It mainly sells nuts, dried meat, dried fruit, pureed foods and other snacks. On December 3, Three Squirrels announced that its annual sales in 2019 exceeded 10 billion Yuan – making it the first company within the snack industry to exceed 10 billion Yuan.
Three Squirrels is mainly internet based and uses B2C platforms to implement its online sales. This unique business model closes the gap between merchants and customers, ensuring that customers are able to enjoy fresh and tasty food. Three Squirrels pioneered online food sales in China.
Three Squirrels’ offline business is a self-run food store (200 square meters), that focuses on the consumer experience and physical display of products. The brand plans to use Alibaba’s retail channels to enter thousands of community stores. According to Zhang Liaoyuan, Three Squirrels now has 700,000 stores, with a product repurchase rate of 75%. The Three squirrel stores (cooperative shops with young entrepreneurs), rely on the owners’ IP to sell their products. As of August 10, 2019, the number of Squirrel stores exceeded 100.
With its unique sales model, the Three Squirrels came first place in the Tmall nut industry on Taobao on the double 11, 2012, with daily sales of nearly 8 million Yuan. Its rapid development made history in China’s e-commerce. In 2013, Three Squirrels sales exceeded 300 million.
Three Squirrels are transforming into a digital supply chain platform. Zhang Liaoyuan believes a large number of food producers should connect with consumers to make the two links shorter. In the end, the efficiency of the industry will be improved, costs will be reduced, the quality will be better, and consequently, there will be a higher consumer demand.
In 2019, sales exceeded 200 million Yuan on Singles’ Day
Adolph is a personal cleaning and health care brand, part of Guangzhou Adolph Personal Care Products Co. LTD. Its headquarters are located in Guangzhou. The brand’s founder, Chen Diansong, met Adolph Martins Ganning, a Spanish performer, when he was traveling in Europe. Adolph created a classic smell that evoked strong emotion, referred to as “the smell of love”. The founders hope to pass on “the smell of love” to commemorate Adolph.
Originally, Li Zhizhen suggested experiential marketing because “Adolph products do not use spokespeople or magazine advertising, but instead share samples with a number of potential customers to reach a bigger audience.” Adolph uses money in this way to save on advertising. Over 90% people who try the products come back to Adolph and become a customer.
The product is delivered by the manufacturer and the store agent does not have to pay for it. With this in mind, the store’s purchase price is just 3.3 percent less. There is enough profit to promote and build teams for store, which means that the brand can still be present on channels without a spokesmen or advertising.
Regarding the brand’s marketing, Adolph collaborates with popular Mobile game social platforms, variety shows so that the brand is able to receive huge brand awareness and traffic on a global scale.
PurCotton brand strategy
In 2019, Purcotton’s Double 11 sales exceeded 600 million.
PurCotton is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the robust medical group, Shenzhen PurCotton Technology Co. Ltd. It has 20 years of professional technology and production experience within the medical cotton industry. It provides laced, cotton spun, non-woven fabrics. The brand has expanded from medical products to civilian products. As the only high-end cotton household goods brand with a medical background in China, its core concept “cotton care for health” commits to providing safer, more comfortable, and environmentally friendly healthy cotton products.
At present, PurCotton specializes in four main product categories: maternal and infant care, female care, quality life care, and medical care. These categories include products such as soft towels, sanitary items, napkins, baby diapers, cotton household items, etc. and they are all widely recognized and favored by the customers.
Every “PurCotton” product has a lasting guarantee. It has eight main types of products, such as clothing, household goods, baby and children’s products, women’s care, and many more. The basic “PurCotton” materials are imported from American and are of a very high quality. In 2010, PurCotton fell into the trap of wasting money to buy online traffic. However, in 2011, it adjusted its strategy and began to establish trust between its products and users, resulting in a better reputational position and improved sales prices. Over time, the brand’s trust has gradually accumulated with the establishment of direct sales – both online and offline. As of 2015, the PurCotton brand has more than 90 offline stores.
Xiaoxiandun brand strategy
In 2019, Xiaoxiandun’s Double 11 sales exceeded 130 million.
Xiaoxiandun is a beauty product made from bird’s nests in Malaysia and Indonesia. It was established in 2014 and has a shelf life of 15 days. It has no additives and is a cold and fresh product that gets delivered to thousands of houses every week. Its brand mission is to make tonic health care easier and hassle-free.
Consumers don’t often know how to select or make this product at home which makes the consumption of it very few. Therefore, Xiaoxiandun focuses on making the process much simpler for consumers. For example, the brand selects the ingredients (with no additives), freshly stews it, and chills it ready for delivery (uses a C2m business model) – making the customer journey effortless and hassle-free.
Providing a natural solution for pregnant women and those who love beauty
Traditional tonic products, such as those made from bird’s nests, seem like products that only middle-aged and elderly people can afford. However, the demand for tonic health care is rapidly changing and there is becoming a much bigger demand from the younger generation.
Advice to brand’s live-streaming in 2020
- Live broadcasting has become a very common way for users to learn about a brand and its environment – similar to the experience of going to an offline store to buy things as the customer is able to meet the employees and get a feel for the business.
- When broadcasting, the brand image should be considered, e.g. the style that the anchor conveys and the type of environment being showcased.
- Different brands should have a professional anchor landing style.
- Profits, including gifts, should be very clear and diversified.
- Live broadcasts should be planned well in advance and holidays/events should be taken into consideration. For example, the seasons, Christmas, Chinese New Year, 618 and Shuang 11.
HI-COM is a multilingual communication agency dedicated to providing China specific social media communication and e-commerce marketing services to businesses around the world. Working with more than 100 brands, HI-COM is the go-to partner of companies that want to enter China market! Contact us for your free consultation today!
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