NBH’s Insight to 11.11 Singles Day – World’s largest shopping festival!

Nov 13, 2023 |

For those who missed our previous insights about Singles’ Day or 11.11, we begin with a brief background, and a short introduction to our observations from the 2023 festival.

Last year was a special year due to the pandemic in China, which also led to other developments such as shopping in metaverse or robot delivery. Find our insight for 11.11 2022 here!

Beacuse even tho what industry you are in, China’s shopping festivals often sets marks for new digital trends. With this said, get ready for the 11.11 marketing parade 2023!

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Image: Adobestock

A catch up!

Singles’ Day, also known as Double 11 or 11.11, is a significant shopping event in China that originated as an anti-Valentine’s Day celebration for single people. Over the years, it has evolved into the world’s largest online shopping day.

Celebrated on November 11th each year, Singles’ Day has become a major retail phenomenon, particularly driven by e-commerce giant Alibaba and its shopping platform, Tmall. The date, 11.11, was chosen because of the significance of the number “1” representing a single individual.

On Singles’ Day, online retailers offer massive discounts and promotions, attracting a huge number of consumers. The day has surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday in terms of sales, making it the largest online shopping day globally. Chinese consumers eagerly participate in the shopping spree, taking advantage of the discounts to purchase a wide range of products, from electronics to fashion items.

Singles’ Day reflects the growing influence of e-commerce in China and highlights the changing consumer behavior in the which demonstrates the global impact of Chinese consumer culture.

Some data for this year’s festival

Of course, the festival extends beyond a single day, even though it culminates on November 11th. Many companies, such as Taobao and Tmall, open to run their campaigns for an extended period, spanning from October 24th to November 11t

Just like before, residents in the world’s second-largest economy are expected to prepare for this year’s lowest prices and hunt for bargains among a multitude of products and offers.

The giant Alibaba alone has a million brands participating with offers, and over 1 billion customers are expected to purchase around 80 million different products. Even luxury brands are on their toes, with over 200 companies registering their participation on Tmall this year. The biggest names, VMH, Richemont, Kering, Hermès, and Chanel, have released about 100 thousand new products and limited editions tied to the festival.

What is the trends for 2023?

Ahead of the 2023 festival, there was a certain skepticism among many observers. The 2022 festival did not surpass the pandemic years, and exact figures have been challenging to obtain from Alibaba and JD. However, a noticeable change lies in the shopping patterns of Chinese customers. More and more are veering away from unnecessary luxury and items deemed “non-essential.” Instead, the focus is shifting towards products that are deemed essential, and stockpiling during low prices is a strategy many are planning for.

The sale of kitchen products, home consumables, clothing, and long-lasting food items is expected to increase. Simultaneously, a clear trend of price wars is observed. Many companies are competing for the best deals and lowest prices to entice purchases. Price is more than ever at the forefront of consumer focus.

A clear trend among the luxury brands is that the do not engage in the price wars. Instead they offer additional products or, for example, free setup fees. More and more luxury brands are also providing installment plans so that you don’t have to pay the full amount immediately upon purchase.

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AI and live streaming

Streaming has become a significant trend that blurs the lines between shopping and entertainment. Brands recognized the need to communicate more effectively and connect with the right audience, focusing on customer propositions and value exchanges.

Part of the shopping festival’s entertainment for consumers included events like Taobao and Tmall’s Countdown Gala and AliExpress hosting a concert in Madrid on November 10, featuring popular artists such as Spanish pop duo Funzo & Baby Loud and Dominican musician Henry Mendez, adding an extra layer of excitement to the overall shopping experience.

Shoppers also had the opportunity to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to find the best deals. Taobao App introduced its generative AI application called “Taobao Wenwen,” which millions of users explored since its beta launch in September. This AI application assists shoppers in refining their searches and guides consumer decision-making through AI-powered question-and-answer sessions.

The emphasis on consumer-centric platforms is growing, aiming to give consumers a sense of control over their shopping experiences. Even in a more cautious consumer environment, the rise of Generative AI is noted for enabling merchants to cut costs.

To support merchants further, Alibaba Cloud provided a range of AI tools during the shopping festival, totaling over 1.5 billion uses by Taobao and Tmall’s merchants in the lead-up to and during the 11.11 campaign. These tools contribute to increased efficiency for merchants participating in the festival.

Our favorites

  • Ai, Ai, Ai 

Alibaba launches an high-tech Ai approach that involves personalized recommendations derived from sophisticated algorithms. This means that for shoppers, the experience is poised to evolve beyond a simple transaction into a personalized shopping journey, where AI comprehends their preferences more effectively than ever before.

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Alibaba utilizes Artificial Intelligence to drive sales during Singles’ Day.

  • The float parade

Many brands chose to participate in The Tmall’s 11.11 Float Parade, which was entirely created by generative AI. In this instance, we showcase Calvin Klein, but it’s the innovative and creative concept that we at NBH wants to highlight.

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High-end labels such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and MCM took part in Tmall’s 11.11 Float Parade, crafted using generative AI. Image: Tmall

  • Trendy sports articles

Even though luxury brands haven’t been the strongest trendsetters this year, it’s always enjoyable to see their creative campaigns. Exercise and outdoor activities have been a growing trend in China for a long time, but after the lockdown, there is certainly a pent-up demand that is being picked up by trend-sensitive brands. This photo is from Louis Vuitton.

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Image: Louis Vuitton

  • At last – No party without a Gala premiere

Taobao and Tmall’s signature 11.11 gala fest leading up to the festival countdown offered loads of entertainment. Chinese pop culture at its best, according to us at NBH.

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The 11.11 Countdown Gala, a distinctive feature of Taobao and Tmall, contributes to the entertainment allure of the shopping festival.
Image: Alibaba Group.

To summerize, we must say that Singles’ Day 2023 provides a glimpse of what we can expect in the realms of AI, shopping, and marketing. Chinese online giants are at the forefront of AI development, and this will increasingly impact our consumer behaviors. In China, a shifting shopping behavior can be observed, with a surge in essential everyday products along with outdoor, fitness, and leisure items.

If you want visibility on China’s digital market, don’t hesitate to contact NBH, and we will guide you according to your specific needs!

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