Global retailers must embrace Singles’ Day as the world’s premier shopping event

Gaining a presence in the Singles’ Day shopping event is an increasingly lucrative opportunity for foreign brands, as the event largely surpasses its Western equivalents Black Friday and Boxing Day in terms of sales, growing strongly year by year, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The event is successful in targeting singles as it fits in well with their mindset, which includes a combination of individualism, value seeking and willingness to treat themselves, however, brands will need a dedicated retail strategy, such as focusing on a particular demographic, in order to make the most of it.

Singles in China and globally are willing to adopt new products and trends, using these to express their individuality and gain social status. Many are price-conscious, thus focusing on discounts, with millennials in particular, having become the most digitally active group of consumers on the planet and vital to every brands’ future.

Quality foreign products are in high demand by Chinese consumers for Singles’ Day, with the most popular countries of origin for imported goods sold in China on the day of the event being Japan and the US. With Singles’ Day gradually expanding to international markets, it offers further opportunities to brands.

Aleksandrina Yotova, Associate Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Even if not participating directly in the event, retailers could introduce Singles’ Day discounts to boost revenue and increase popularity.”
Along with big names, SMEs globally are widely featured in the event and in terms of product category, beauty, fashion, and technology was the best-selling in 2017 and expected to remain so this year.

Yotova continues: “The rise of female Chinese consumers has boosted premium beauty sales; for example, with US luxury brand Estée Lauder, ranking fourth in terms of sales last year.

“However, higher import tariffs resulting from US-China trade tensions are likely to result in higher prices of US products. Although this would limit sales to some extent, Chinese consumers are not likely to lose interest in quality imported goods.”

Other nationalities are also buying from China on Singles’ Day with Russians taking top spot in previous years. This is made possible by Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce platform AliExpress. According to company figures, AliExpress had 22 million active buyers in Russia in 2017.

Yotova concludes: “Alibaba’s strategy involves making Singles’ Day global, and offering free shipping helps lure overseas shoppers to make more impulse purchases.”

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