What is 11.11?
As the name implies, Singles Day 11.11 (or Guanggun Jie 管 棍 节) is a Chinese holiday held on November 11 every year. 11.11 is the feast opposite Valentine’s Day, which is Singles Day. Hence the choice of the date, made up of four “1s” and the anniversary is, for this reason, also known as the “Double 11 Party” (双 十一shuāng shíyī).
On this occasion, events are organized in which, those who do not yet have a partner can have the opportunity to meet one and in China, numerous parties are organized explicitly forbidden to couples. However, the real reason that made Singles Day famous all over the world is shopping!
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The evolution of the 11.11 shopping festival over the years
- In 2009, Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba turned 11.11 into a shopping festival, with the idea of inviting Chinese consumers to buy gifts in the spirit of a “singles day”. This day was seen as an opportunity to increase sales in the break between the national holiday of Chinese Golden Week in October and the Christmas season.
- In 2013, 11.11 results surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday and became the largest online shopping festival in the world.
- In 2015 the event was officially named 11.11 Global Shopping Festival as it has become a holiday celebrated by traders and consumers around the world.
- Today 11.11 produces 18 times more than Amazon Prime Day and 2.5 times bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Chinese consumers behavior during 11.11 Shopping festival
The observed Chinese consumer behavior is a real shopping frenzy during this day. Most of the online stores discount up to 90%, but the Chinese prefer to buy on marketplaces such as Tmall, JD more than single brand stores.
Today, if initially this holiday was born only for singles, over time it has become an opportunity for all those who want to take advantage of this day to buy what they have always wanted, but at a lower price.
Why is 11.11 important for brands?
The 11.11 event has become the largest offline and online shopping day in the world. As more people join in the celebration of this holiday, many companies have taken the opportunity to target younger consumers including businesses such as restaurants, karaoke parlors, and online shopping malls.
Last year, more than 200,000 brands participated in World Online Shopping Day and more than 1 million new products were launched for the occasion.
For example, Nike, Unilever, Burberry, Valentino, L’oreal, Tiffany and others have run their own Singles Day promotions.
- Estée Lauder grossed $ 70 million in the first 25 minutes of her presale,
- Levi Strauss designed an exclusive line of clothing
- Kim Kardashian West hosted a live stream to sell her perfume.
The reason is simple, given the numbers this is a great day for brands to promote and sell their products. In fact, in 2019, the Single Day hit a record $ 38 billion in sales, including $ 12 billion in just the first hour, and an annual growth of + 26%. It is the eleventh consecutive year that the Global Shopping day has recorded growing sales.
Given the frenzy of shopping thanks to the discounts on this day, it will be very interesting to find out what the results will be in 2020.
To sum up, it is not difficult to understand how this is a “special” moment for consumers and retailers around the world.
- On one hand, for consumers, it is an opportunity to buy what they have always wanted, benefiting from a discount, with the possibility, if you are single, to wear it to meet your sweetheart.
- On the other hand, for retailers and Western brands, it is a way to make themselves known and attract the attention of the Chinese consumer.
How should brands manage their sales campaigns during 11.11?
Given the numbers, there is no shortage of opportunities for foreign brands and today there are already several brands that are equipped to participate. Many foreign luxury brands have finally understood the potential of this day and are now dedicating online and offline events specifically for the Chinese market.
Brands such as Burberry and Versace have created limited editions especially for the event. Even less active online brands such as Chanel made an exception for 11.11 by organizing an ad hoc marketing campaign.
However, for a brand, being digital in China does not only mean knowing Chinese communication channels and digital tools, but it is also important to understand their uses and customs to make their communication effective and efficient.
With a mix and match of the most suitable marketing tools such as KOL (Key Opinion Leaders), 11.11 is undoubtedly a unique opportunity to consolidate one’s brand awareness in China.
For example, brands have been trying their hand at super Chinese-friendly graphics and texts for some years now. They use banners with the “cat’s head” (Maotou) reminiscent of the famous symbol of Tmall.
For example, Gilette made a really nice “cat head”. As you can see in the following image, the cat is rendered with a mirror, from which two Chinese faces of father and son are observed: a moment of family and cross-cultural sharing, given the facial features of the faces.
Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival has become a prime platform for brands to promote their creativity and showcase innovations. This year will be no different. Like other years, several big names will surely launch new interactive technologies and ways to interact with consumers to not only increase sales, but also strengthen brand loyalty and provide shoppers with a unique experience.
How to prepare for 11.11 shopping festival?
- Promote product discounts in advance
Most brands start showing their offers almost a month in advance to increase customer enthusiasm and intent to buy. Promotion and discount tactics remain one of the best ways to attract Chinese consumers to buy products as it creates the urge to buy.
To promote discounts on your products, you can use Chinese digital platforms like Wechat, Weibo, Xiahongshu. Or you can use digital advertising to attract more attention to your product sales.
For example, during a 11.11 event, Valentino hosted a couture fashion show titled “Daydream” in Beijing with glamorous evening dresses. The show was streamed live on Tmall, where users could purchase the special edition of the brand’s Daydream collection (logo t-shirts, trainers and other casual clothes, as well as gifts including a set of $ mahjong. 2500). The promotion also included an omnichannel component, offering a virtual tour of the Beijing store on Tmall, which allowed users to virtually “buy” items on the shelves. The collection was also sold via a Wechat mini-program.
- Increase customer loyalty through coupons
Chinese consumers love coupons and these have now become incredibly popular during 11.11. Typically, users who have purchased a coupon are more likely to use it and make a purchase. That’s why almost all brands sell coupons for a very low price during the 11/11 festival.
11.11 Singles Day is the best day when you can attract new customers and encourage them to make their first purchase. For example, during the Singles Day promotion, L’oreal offered all new members a $ 5 coupon and an 11x multiplier for members’ points reward, incentivizing both a first purchase and a large purchase.
L’oreal also rewarded customers with a gift if they spent a certain amount, to encourage them to spend more.
- Promote your brand and products through social media & Live streaming
In China social media as a channel wins more trust over the consumers. Consumers believe more on the message they directly communicate on social media, whether via WeChat, Weibo or Little Red Book posts.
People get a more solid connection to the brand via social media and at the same time brands can reach Chinese consumers and interact with them.
Livestreaming has also proved to be an essential tool for brands to grab the attention of Chinese consumers. According to Alibaba, more than half of traders on Tmall used live streaming to market their products on November 11, which at 8.55am helped generate 10 billion yen (1.11 billion pounds) in GMV.
Usually hosted by famous key opinion leaders, these live streams have provided consumers with a platform to discover and learn about new products.
While live streaming has helped grab consumers’ attention and discover products, KOLs are the best people Chinese consumers rely on for advice when shopping.
- Release new or exclusive products
Releasing new or exclusive products for 11.11 has proven incredibly effective for many brands.
In fact, the annual event has become the most suitable time for the launch of new products on Tmall. The MAC brand, for example, sold 60,000 units of its lipstick within five minutes of presale, which was sold exclusively on November 11th.
Other brands have used the platform to launch new products, for example the American beer brand, Budweiser, has launched exclusive packaging for the event. That day they were able to sell all 30,000 special edition packages.
- Sell products on Tmall but also on other Chinese platforms
During the single day, products are not only sold on Tmall, but other Chinese e-commerce platforms can also be used as a means to sell products to Chinese consumers. One of these is definitely JD.com which in 2019 reported sales of 179.4 billion yuan ($ 25.6 billion) by mid-afternoon. Other platforms are Pinduoduo, Suning and Xiaohongshu.
Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a Digital Marketing Agency that is expert in helping foreign companies to establish or strengthen their position in China. We can help you to build the best 11.11 campaign in China. Contact us to discuss it further!