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11 takeaways from China’s 11.11 Singles Day

by Demi Ping
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Singles Day

Jack Porteous of Samarkand Global provides eleven key takeaway points from this year’s Singles Day that retailers can learn from

1. Recovery

China may have suffered in the initial stages of the pandemic but early results from Singles Day show the Chinese economy is booming again. China’s consumer economy is driving overall GDP recovery – and for all global brands, the Chinese consumer has to be front and centre of plans for the coming years.

2. Livestreaming is here to stay

Alibaba launched 11.11 this year on the 1st of November with some incredible livestreaming results. A livestreaming event with Probio7 and actress Jing Tian was viewed by over 70 million potential customers. It’s clear that livestream is now the expected normal shopping experience for consumers.

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3. Albiaba dominate… but

That doesn’t mean that the results of other channels aren’t impressive. JD, Suning, Kaola, Pinduoduo and many more all took part – and claim record-breaking sales too.


4. Some smaller channels are opting out

Chinese tech giant NetEase’s Yanxuan platform ‘quit’ Singles Day this year. Some other KOL-led social commerce channels aren’t participating either. With Alibaba even more dominant this year, this may become a trend that continues as channels choose to stop trying to beat Alibaba at their own game.

5. 11.11 is more than just one day

Alibaba may have done two official sales periods for 11.11 this year but other platforms took it even further. JD launched their promotion on 21st October and ran for the 22 days to Singles Day.

6. More global platforms are participating

Brands with a strong footprint among Chinese consumers like Nike, Kiehl’s, and Holland & Barrett are offering 11.11 deals on their own global websites. With international travel restricted, there is a clear increase in demand from consumers to buy direct from brands online.


7. Promotions are a great opportunity to gain new customers

According to Samarkand’s Nomad Analytics platform, 40% of customers in November were first time customers, meaning thousands of customers were trying out the brands for the first time, which is exciting not just for this month but for future growth.

8. They’re also a way to unlock more lifetime value of loyal customers

The remaining 60% of customers had bought from the platform before and are hungry for more. Repeat customer spend on average 250% more than the first time customers during the 11.11 promotion period.

9. Hero SKUs aren’t everything

A top-performing brand saw a third of its sales come from its top SKU, with a further 19 products each contribution between 1-9% of sales, and a longer tail making up the rest.


10. Flexibility is vital

In Chinese e-commerce, things change fast. Having stock allocated to just one specific platform or across multiple warehouses means there is potential for missed opportunities. Using a centralised stock management system can ensure the stock is available to whichever platform is seeing sales explode.

11. It’s not over yet

Some platforms are keeping promotions running beyond 11.11 – Omal only started their promotion on the 11th and is running it for 11 days. And don’t forget 12.12 is just around the corner.

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