How to Hit the Online Sales Motherlode on Singles Day

Singles Day mindsets – a mixed bag

Singles Day (November 11), which was first started by Chinese college students in the 1990s, is the antithesis of Valentine’s Day. It is a day dedicated to the celebration of singledom.

Some singles have developed various rituals to mark the day including gifting friends with 1 figure-shaped items, from toothpicks to half of a deep fried double dough stick. Other singles, who aren’t into celebrating their status, will go on a blind date on the day so that they don’t have to be alone.

One of the most outstanding customs is self-gifting: This is a day for self indulgence and rewards for hard work all year round.

The world’s greatest shopping extravaganza

Singles Day is hands down the world’s biggest online shopping event. On Singles Day last year marketplace giant Alibaba recorded $30.3 billion in sales in a 24-hour period, more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

China is the world’s largest e-commerce market, with annual sales approaching $1.53 trillion. So there’s room for everyone – Alibaba is not the only corporation that can profit from the holiday, global retailers can capitalize on this day as well.

The Chinese favor foreign labels so this shopping day represents a unique opportunity for global brands. According to Alibaba, over 40% of Singles Day shoppers purchased international brands, including Apple, Dyson, Gap, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Kindle, Nestle, Nike, and Adidas.Over 240 international brands recorded at least $14.4 million in sales.

4 Tips for global online retailers

  • Offer popular items

Last year buyers favored health supplements, followed by milk powder and diapers. Makeup products, including emulsions, facial masks, face wash and toner, were also high on the national shopping list. However, as a large number  of shoppers are savvy millennials, many sought out electronics, smartphones and gadgets. Due to the fact that a significant percentage of the shoppers are women, apparel and home goods also sold very well.

  • Spread your wings

Singles Day has spread beyond China to Southeast Asia and other locations. In countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, local residents eagerly await the day’s special sales.Last year, prior to Singles Day, China’s largest retailer, JD.com, rolled out a two-week campaign called  “11.11 Crazy Hot Sale,” in which it targeted Thai shoppers. Even US retailers are starting to adopt Singles Day, as a time when Americans can express well-deserved self-love.

  • Provide familiar mobile app payments

Chinese online consumers use WeChat for every aspect of their lives, from scheduling doctors’ appointments and shopping to messaging friends and payments. Shopping by smartphone in China is quick and easy, thanks to convenient payment methods, particularly Alipay, Union Pay and WeChat Pay. If you want to make a hit on Singles Day, integrate these familiar payment platforms on your Chinese website.

  • Reach out through social media

The Chinese are very connected to social media. While WeChat is the most effective way to reach potential customers, Weibo (similar to Twitter) and Youku Tudou (similar to YouTube) are also widespread. Post videos, interactive content, and special coupons to attract followers.

Singles Day offers online retailers huge potential both in China and abroad, but it is very important to study your target audience’s culture, shopping preferences and spending habits before taking the plunge.  




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