Single’s Day, celebrated on November 11th every year, has transformed from a light-hearted antidote to Valentine’s Day into one of the largest shopping extravaganzas worldwide, especially in China.
In this article, we dive into the results of Single’s Day 2023, examining the numbers and trends that defined this year’s event. From soaring sales figures to emerging consumer behaviors, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of how this day unfolded in the Chinese market, offering insights into the economic and cultural impacts of this shopping phenomenon.
Sales and Revenue Overview
Single’s Day 2023 in China marked another record-breaking year, showcasing the event’s massive appeal and continued growth. The total sales figures for this one-day shopping event were astounding, with revenues reaching 11.38.6 billion yuan, representing a 2.08% year-on-year growth.
Even though the growth is not as big as it used to be in the past, given the fact that Chinese economy is having problems and people don’t want to spend as much as they used to during this shopping holiday, it’s still a win.
You can see the results from previous years on the graph below;
This year, same as last year, e-commerce giants like Taobao, Tmall, and JD.com decided not to report gross merchandise value after Single’s Day (as well as other shopping festivals). It was already evident last year during the 11/11 shopping festival, but also during this year’s 618 festival.
Sum up of some key statistics:
- traditional e-commerce platforms earned 923.5 billion yuan GMV, with Tmall ranking first, followed by JD and Pinduoduo
- Live-streaming e-commerce platforms such as Douyin, Kuaishou, and Dian Tao reached 215.1 billion yuan in sales
- The top categories generating sales, in descending order, were: Household appliances/electronics, Phones/Electronics, Clothing, Personal Care & Beauty, Shoes/Luggage, Computer & Office, Furniture/Home Building Materials, Foods/Drinks, Pregnancy&Baby/Toy, Sports & Outdoors.
- The household appliances and electronics category recorded sales of 152.6 billion yuan, which is an absolute winner
Low prices strategy of eCommerce platforms
This year, leading platforms like Taobao, Tmall, and JD.com focused on offering low prices to appeal to more budget-conscious consumers. Taobao and Tmall highlighted products with “the lowest prices online,” promising compensation if customers found cheaper options elsewhere. They also introduced straightforward discounts, such as a direct 15% off without minimum order requirements.
JD.com, on the other hand, offered deals like 50 RMB (6.86 USD) off for every 299 RMB (41.02 USD) spent, along with 20 RMB (2.74 USD) coupons, and eliminated presales to commence the event with readily available stock.
Despite these aggressive pricing strategies, both Taobao and Tmall, as well as JD.com, reported year-on-year sales growth and broke new records in several metrics. Taobao and Tmall Group saw increases in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), the number of orders, and participating merchants.
By the end of November 11th, 402 brands had achieved over 100 million RMB (13.72 million USD) in GMV, and more than 38,000 brands experienced over 100% sales growth. Similarly, JD.com hit new highs in transaction volume, order volume, and user numbers.
Opinions on this performance vary. Some, like the state-owned Global Times, view this growth as a sign of a complete recovery in consumer spending. Others, however, interpret the continued non-disclosure of GMV figures by e-commerce companies as an indication that consumer confidence has yet to fully rebound to pre-pandemic levels.
Chinese consumers’ perception is changing from excitement to fatigue
The buzz around China’s Singles’ Day sales on November 11th, a highlight of the online shopping calendar, noticeably cooled this year. Baidu’s data indicated a significant 60% drop in peak searches compared to last year, while a trending Weibo topic questioned the event’s declining appeal.
A Bain & Company survey echoed this sentiment, revealing that only 53% of 3,000 surveyed consumers were excited about Singles’ Day, a decrease from 76% in 2021. Additionally, 77% planned not to increase their spending, signaling a shift toward more cautious consumer behavior.
Even though China’s consumption has rebounded (as shown in the graph below), the excitement about the 11.11 shopping festival is far from reaching the levels seen a few years ago.
E-commerce giants, facing this “cooling” trend, simplified their sales approach. Taobao advertised “the lowest prices on the internet,” JD.com boasted of being “so cheap,” and Pinduoduo launched a hefty subsidy to compete on price. This shift in strategy, from intricate discounts to straightforward price wars, marked Singles’ Day’s 15th anniversary with a sense of consumer and marketing fatigue.
Reflecting broader economic trends, China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported only a modest increase in October’s retail sales, attributed to the previous year’s low base. Social media platforms like Xiaohongshu showed a move towards frugality among young people, with less focus on luxury and more on savings. Shopping habits also visibly changed, with more people opting for lower-priced options in food stores and supermarkets, away from the upper levels of shopping centers.
But, what’s interesting is the fact, that even though the consumption in China during the event is falling, Single’s Day is becoming more and more recognized worldwide, with many global brands offering discounts and special offers abroad.
Who Gained The Most During This Year’s Single’s Day?
As we mentioned above, the household and electronics category was the biggest winner, recording sales of 152.6 billion yuan. But other categories, like skincare, personal hygiene, cooking ingredients, and outdoor or health supplements were performing very well, as expected.
Household appliances and electronics
This category is always a big hit during Single’s Day, but it’s a similar situation with Black Friday deals. Those products are usually the ones that people save for, and they are also offered at great discounts, so consumers wait to purchase them during the event. The share in volume (152.6 billion yuan) was divided between JD.com (61%) and Tmall (31%). The biggest winners in this category were Haier, Midea, Xiaomi, Little Swan and TCL.
For example, folding screen mobile phone transaction volume increased more than +300% in comparison to the previous year. More than 2,000 home appliance and home product brands’ transaction volume increased +100% year-on-year Transaction volume of 10+ brands, including Midea, Haier, Gree, Hisense, and Xiaomi, reached RMB1 billion (US$139 million).
Beauty products and fragrances
In the beauty and skincare sector of this year’s sales, Chinese brand Proya significantly outperformed on JD.com with a 120% increase, joining global favorites like L’Oréal, Lancôme, and Estée Lauder on both JD.com and Tmall.
The guochao trend, favoring domestic brands, was evident as Chinese skincare labels topped Tmall’s Singles’ Day sales, a notable change from the international brand dominance of previous years. L’Oréal still led in the fast-moving consumer goods category on Tmall, but Proya took the lead in beauty. The top 10 list also included Olay, Vichy, La Mer, and others.
In perfumes, Jo Malone London, Tom Ford, and Yves Saint Laurent surprisingly topped the category, reflecting a shift in Chinese consumer preferences towards niche perfumeries over traditional luxury brands. Niche labels like Byredo and Diptyque also appeared in the top 20, further indicating this trend.
Fashion and luxury sector
For the first time, Gucci joined Tmall’s Double 11 event along with over 200 luxury brands. Big players like LVMH, Richemont, Kering, Hermès, and Chanel launched 100,000 new products, including exclusive and co-branded items.
During the first hour of Singles’ Day, sales for Gucci, Burberry, and Ralph Lauren surpassed their entire last year’s Double 11 sales. On JD.com, brands like Dior, Tiffany and Co., and Bottega Veneta saw their turnover increase by over four times compared to the previous year.
Valentino emerged as a standout performer on the platform, with sales increasing over six times compared to last year’s festival. The brand had launched a special Double 11 campaign on October 24, featuring celebrity Guan Xiaotong and showcasing items from their Fall/Winter 2023 collection.
Health, wellness, and outdoor sports
Amidst China’s growing enthusiasm for winter sports, sparked by the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 and the rising fame of athletes like Eileen Gu, there was a notable surge in sales of ski-related gear on JD.com. Products such as ski goggles, jackets, and pants saw their sales double, witnessing a 100% increase. Brands specializing in skiing equipment like Nitro, Terror, and Flow Theory experienced a remarkable growth, with sales multiplying by more than seven times.
The health, wellness, and outdoor lifestyle sectors also showed impressive performance. Global brands like Nike and Lululemon were among the anticipated top sellers, reflecting the growing trend towards fitness and outdoor activities. In the initial hours of the sale event, Alibaba recorded a staggering 300% increase in road bike sales, highlighting the rising popularity of cycling as a fitness and leisure pursuit.
Lululemon, in particular, stood out on JD.com, where transaction volumes for their products skyrocketed, showing a 260% year-on-year increase. The demand for both men’s and women’s down jackets similarly soared, doubling in sales compared to the previous year.
However, the health supplements category didn’t match this upward trend, with sales reaching only 14.8 billion yuan. Despite the modest overall performance, brands like Swisse, by-health, GNC, Blackmores, and Move Free emerged as notable winners in this sector. Their success indicates a selective yet significant interest among consumers in health and wellness products, even as the broader category faced a slower growth rate.
Future Outlook: Will The 11/11 Shopping Festival Survive?
As we look ahead, the trajectory of Single’s Day in China seems poised for evolution rather than a straightforward continuation of past trends. The growing trend of year-round discounts and live-streaming sales is changing how consumers view Single’s Day, with many no longer seeing it as a once-a-year opportunity for unique savings.
According to a recent Bain report, a majority of consumers are planning to either maintain or reduce their spending levels in the coming years. However, the luxury segment still shows robust growth, as seen with brands like Valentino, indicating that premium products continue to attract significant consumer interest.
How Businesses Might Adapt Their Strategies
Businesses, particularly e-commerce platforms, will likely need to innovate and refresh their strategies to keep up with changing consumer attitudes and maintain the excitement around Single’s Day. With luxury brands still performing strongly, there’s an evident shift towards quality and exclusivity, suggesting that future events might focus more on premium products and unique offerings.
For brands, participating in Single’s Day is increasingly about reaching new potential buyers and engaging with them, especially in lower-tier cities where Tmall reported a significant growth in new buyers and orders this year. This suggests a potential shift in focus towards these emerging markets in future strategies.
E-commerce platforms might also look into integrating more experiential and interactive elements into the event to rekindle consumer interest. This could include exclusive launches, interactive campaigns, and personalized shopping experiences that go beyond just discounts. As China’s biggest shopping festival matures, its success will hinge on how well these platforms and brands can adapt to the evolving landscape of consumer preferences and market dynamics.
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Single’s Day 2023 highlighted key trends in China’s e-commerce landscape: a shift towards quality over quantity, the resilience of luxury brands, and the changing perceptions of the event among consumers. The festival’s evolution from exclusive discounts to a more diverse and engaging shopping experience reflects these shifts.
For the global market, these trends underscore the importance of understanding and adapting to the evolving preferences of Chinese consumers. The shift towards premium products and experiences signals new opportunities for brands looking to enter or expand in this market.
At Gentlemen Marketing Agency, we specialize in navigating these dynamic market conditions. Our expertise in digital strategy and consumer insights can help your brand successfully leverage events like Single’s Day to connect with the Chinese audience and make a lasting impact in the global market. Contact us to start collaborating with the best marketing agency in China!