Singles’ Day: a Chinese celebration on its way to the west?

The Drum 20 Nov 2020 11:42
By Ada Luo-20 November 2020 11:42am

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Singles’ Day: a Chinese celebration on its way to the west?

Singles’ Day promotions have been hitting the headlines in the west for the past few days. Alibaba generated $74.1bn in Singles’ Day-related sales on its platform, with an astonishing 583,000 orders a second at peak. More than 340 brands surpassed ¥100m and 13 of them made more than ¥1bn during these celebrations. This spans across various sections, with cosmetics to technology companies all making serious money during this event.

And they’re not alone. Chinese e-commerce giant generated $40.97bn in sales this year. And yet, there are still billions of consumers outside of China who know nothing about it. In this article, we explore Singles’ Day and how it can be a lucrative marketing event outside of China.

We all know about Valentine’s Day, where lovers and those hoping to find love send messages and gifts to one another and share romantic meals. Well, since 1993 in China there’s been a day for singles too. It’s on 11 November, a number (11/11) that signifies four singles celebrating together. It was started by some singleton college students who wanted their own celebrations.

Chinese expats in the west are already on board

Insights from Dealmoon

More brands are embracing Singles’ Day in Europe

Beauty and fashion brands are leading in performance

The ad below, for example, is a Singles’ Day promotion for Lancome.

1. It’s not all about discounts and revenue

If your brand has a relatively low profile among certain segments of an audience (for example, Chinese consumers), running a Singles’ Day event will trigger interest for consumers to further explore the brand after the peak season concludes. According to Bain & Company, in 2019 winners in Alibaba’s Singles’ Day event were able to sustain strong sales growth throughout the year.

Starting a Singles’ Day campaign early is not uncommon across different regions. For example, Alibaba has already established extended Singles’ Day promotions, where pre-sale and campaigning start from 1 November. In Europe, retailers have also been running activity early, also focusing around the first week of November. This is also prevalent amongst brands running Singles’ Day campaigns with Dealmoon, with some of their brands running activity from 1 November up to the 11 November (official Single’s Day), in an attempt to avoid getting lost in the saturated market.

With Single’s Day being relatively new in Europe, a majority of retailers choose to limit their exposure to Singles’ Day campaigns by collaborating with unique partners such as Dealmoon (which offers exclusive discounts without releasing the promotion to a wider audience) or by running personalised email campaigns to target buyers. It makes sense for brands new to Single’s Day to take cautious steps, particularly with key mainstream events such as Black Friday around the corner. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of potential here that European brands can benefit from exploring.

Singles’ Day has been linked to at least £1.44bn in Europe this year – which is no small amount. It’s assumed this revenue is driven chiefly by Chinese expats living in Europe – people like our colleague, senior digital account director at Croud, Xixi You, who said: “I joined a Chinese community group chat in Manchester – people in the group have been actively sharing deals for Singles’ Day in the last few days, ranging from beauty products to luxury items.”

What does Singles’ Day mean for your brand?

Preparing for 2021

1. Collaborate with a partner

2. Consider email campaigns

3. Utilise all digital channels

To find out more about Singles’ Day and how Croud can support your international marketing strategy, get in touch.

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