Ready to mingle with Chinese singles? (not what you think)
Sheba Nandkeolyar shares 11 things Australian marketers probably don’t (but definitely should) know about the biggest retail sales day of the year – Singles’ Day.
1. Singles’ Day (or Guanggun Jie in Chinese, which literally means single sticks’ or bare branches’ festival) is a shopping holiday that has grown wildly popular among young Chinese
people – both in China and around the world.
2. Although it originally began as a holiday to celebrate pride in being single – also a good excuse to spoil oneself – Singles’ Day has since grown to become a date to celebrate relationships as well as singledom. The date, 11 November (11/11), was chosen because of the repetition of the number one, representing a single person.
3. Retail giant Alibaba’s CEO Daniel Zhang was the architect behind Singles’ Day. Every year, we see greater and greater interest from Australian brands seeking our services for Singles’ Day promotional activities.
4. There are 1300 Australian brands on Tmall and Tmall Global according to the latest estimates. Around 80% of these brands entered the Chinese market for the first time via Alibaba’s online platforms, with many Australian brands seeing their strongest sales around this time.
5. Looking at the global picture, Singles’ Day has become the largest offline and online shopping day in the world, with Alibaba shoppers exceeding US$25.4 (AU$35.1) billion in spending during the 2017 celebrations. JD.com’s 11-day shopping festival garnered US$19.1 (AU$26.4) billion in 2017, bringing the Chinese total to US$44.5 (AU$61.5) billion – far outperforming the US’ ‘Black Friday’ sales.
6. Alibaba Group will be hosting its 10th annual Singles’ Day Global Shopping Festival on Sunday, the company is expected to double its 2017 sales figures. Many brands and retail outlets targeting Chinese audiences seek to tap into the increased spending on and before this date.
7. The first Singles’ Day event boasted only 27 merchants. In 2018, it is predicted that we will see 180,000 brands and 200,000 offline smart stores participating globally.
8. As well as shopping, Singles’ Day serves as an occasion for single people to meet and for parties to be organised. Brick and mortar stores and restaurants also typically see an uptick
in sales. This year, Event Cinemas is running a Weibo competition in time for Singles’ Day with themed pricing of $11 tickets.
9. Singles’ Day is one of many love-themed Chinese holidays and festivals – including Qixi, also called Double Seven Festival, Night of Sevens, Magpie Festival or Young Girl’s Festival. There is also 20 May, shortened to 520 (wu er ling) which sounds similar to ‘I love you’ in Chinese. The day is celebrated as an unofficial Chinese Valentine’s Day and is a very recent invention of Chinese netizens and millennials.
10. Research by MultiConnexions tells us that Chinese consumers in Australia and in China are tech-savvy, brand conscious, aspirational and family and relationship oriented. McKinsey research indicates that in China around 85% of wealthy consumers live in the 100 wealthiest cities, making highly targeted marketing communications very easy. Chinese in Australia are also very metro-centric, with the majority living in Sydney and Melbourne.
11. Singles’ Day is a great time to target Chinese audiences with retail product/service offerings – especially online. WeChat and Weibo are popular platforms among Chinese. It is a time to engage with the Chinese youth audience when they are very receptive, in a meaningful way. Opportunities include launching new products and services, promotional messaging, building brand credibility with the youth market and more.
Sheba Nandkeolyar is co-founder and CEO of MultiConnexions
Image credit: Juan Pablo Gonzalez