Double 11, 11.11, or Singles Day – name it to tame it! Get the latest trends from China’s biggest shopping festival

Double 11, 11.11, or Singles Day – name it to tame it! Get the latest trends from China’s biggest shopping festival

The shopping event “The Singles Day” has for many countries been a completely unknown phenomenon. But like many other trends and influences from China, Singles Day is starting to become part of “our” “shopping calendar”, at least if you look at Europe.

China’s shopping festival, Singles Day (often referred to as 11.11 or double 11), is China’s largest shopping event. And with record numbers, year after year, China’s Singles Day has also become the world’s largest shopping event.

This year, the major e-com players such as Alibaba and JD have been relatively low-key when it comes to sharing their sales figures.

But, if we look at shopping- and marketing trends, even before 11.11 kicked off, you could clearly see new trends when it comes to digital marketing, customer behavior, and product categories.

NBH will share our outcome of this year’s Singles day, but also share some background on The Singles Day and why it can be important to keep track of it, even though you may not participate.

Chinas Shopping Festival: Singles Day a.k.a. 11.11 and double 11

The shopping festival The Singles Day has its official day on November 11, hence the event is often referred to as 11.11 or double 11. China likes to refer to lucky numbers or to name various events after numbers. Therefore, there are many explanations for exactly 11.11, but we leave this outside of this insight. 😉

Singles Day is today an unofficial holiday in China. The holiday was created in response to “couple holidays” such as Valentine’s Day.

On November 11, 2009, on Singles Day, Alibaba launched a 24-hour shopping event with discounts and various offers. The goal was to attract a younger target audience.

The shopping event was a big hit and quickly other e-com and social media platforms, brands, and physical stores followed the trend and participated.

Have China’s shopping festivals become the trendsetters for digital marketing?

For the past decade, China has been at the forefront when it comes to digital trends. Digital trends such as live-shopping events, metaverse, and meta-influencers, to name a few, are some of the digital trends that have flourished precisely from these types of shopping events. Read our Insight about Metaverse here.

Many brands and e-com giants choose to test new forms of digital marketing during these events. The goal is no longer just to compete for the best sales figures, but also to showcase new technologies and innovations.

With that said, if you work with digital marketing, China’s shopping festivals are therefore interesting to keep an eye on!

Singles day 2022

Singles Day is not only today a 24-hour shopping event. The e-com platform JD, for example, opened its sales on August 31 until midnight on November 11.

Before this year’s festival, there was great uncertainty among both customers and retailers. The Covid-19 pandemic and shortages in the supply chain have affected the global market and many parts of the world are in a downturn.

Even so, the numbers that have already been released have indicated that 2022 will at least match 2021’s numbers (952+ billion RMB). Among other things, as many as 70,000 new brands have participated for the first time.

The Swedish luxury fashion brand Filippa. K is one example of a new brand to participate in this year’s Singles Day. They chose to launch their brand on Alibaba Tmall just in time for 11.11.

“The Chinese market is too big and too important and too influential to ignore,” said Filippa K’s CEO Rikard Frost.

Press release image of Filippa. K launch on Alibaba Tmall

So, what are the trends for The Singles Day 2022?

NBH has listed the most important scouts from 2022’s singles day

  • Metaverse

Metaverse has quickly become a new reality in China and interest is constantly increasing. Ahead of this year’s Singles Day, more companies have chosen to work with virtual idols and KOLs. With this, they mainly want to reach a younger and more digital generation that prefers to make their purchases online.

Before 2023, market research firm Forrester estimates that up to a fifth of all companies will use collaborations with virtual KOLs. Read our Insight about Chinese KOLs here.

Another trend linked to the metaverse is that online stores are starting to look more and more like physical stores that you enter through an avatar. Alibaba, for example, has digital accessories digital so you can try them on in 3D.

Try on your accessories and clothes with virtual shopping at Tmall. Image: Alibaba Group
  • Robots for delivery services

Another trend that we saw already last year was that robots have started to be used for home delivery to customers. This year, Alibaba had as many as 700 robots that were used in the transport chain out to the customer. That is twice as much as last year.

Alibaba logistic robots showed at a university campus in China

  • Health care for you and your pet

JD reported in its trend report on November 12 that health products had an upswing. Customers tended to stay longer on the platform to compare different products and services, where quality instead of price was important.

More than 1600 nutrition brands doubled their sales volume. Pet-care products increased and bookings of various health services increased by 7 times. JD also reported that sales of “life-related” services increased 30 times.

Else Nutrition during double 11

  • Increased demand for “green shopping”

Search terms that increased drastically on during 11.11 2022, were “organic”, “green”, “low-carbon” and “energy-saving”.

The increased demand for climate-friendly products has increased in China. In May of this year, JD launched the “Green Impact Initiative,” an initiative that involves labeling environmentally-friendly products.

More brands and platforms are also encouraged to choose a more environmentally friendly logistics transport option.

  • “China-Chic”

A trend that has been booming among Gen-Z is “China-Chic”, a phenomenon named after the increased demand for cultural value.

This shows not only the demand for domestic products but also that international brands need to get better at adapting their marketing to China.  

To summarize….

Brands that engage more with the customer in the form of live shopping, videos, influencer collaborations, and customer service tend to increase their sales.

Technologies in the form of transportation and metaverse continue to develop and environmentally friendly products continue to play an increasingly important role when consumers make their choices.