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Singles' Day loses some of its gloss

News, 09 November 2016

BEIJING: This year's Singles' Day is predicted to break new sales records as it goes global, but Chinese e-shoppers are less interested than before, new research suggests, with younger shoppers in particular less likely to take part.

Marketing tech firm AdMaster conducted a mobile survey with 1,730 Chinese netizens in mid-October to gauge their feelings about 2016's Singles' Day and reported a 13-point drop in the proportion of people who intended to participate, from 84% in 2015 to 71% this year.

The disinclination to shop this Friday was most marked among the under-25s, where just 64% indicated they would be doing so, compared to 84% last year.

And while "likeability" figures for the event at 80% remained generally high, if slipping from last year's figure of 88%, this younger age group showed a faster decline of 12 points to 75%. Respondents in lower tier cities were also losing some of their enthusiasm.

The research highlighted two main reasons for these developments. Slow delivery is one which raises its head ever year, although the chief executive of Cainiao Network Technology, which handles transaction data on Taobao and Tmall and co-ordinates deliveries, recently claimed it was "fully prepared" to handle 600m deliveries.

The other is that Singles Day is no longer regarded as something out of the ordinary; 24% of survey respondents said because there have been so many promotions on e-commerce platforms they didn't need to participate in this one.

Maggie Wang, AdMaster Commercial and Innovation Vice President, commented that Singles' Day was "moving into a new stage" as it lost its dominant status in terms of consumer's attention.

"Chinese e-shoppers are spoiled by continuous promotions and immediate delivery," she said. "They are also more sophisticated and rational [shoppers] who require more customization and good reason-to-buy."

Her advice was that marketers stop looking at Singles' Day just as a retail promotion on an e-commerce platform. "It is about the consumer engagement with the brand," she said.

"With the decrease desire of consumer interest, I highly recommend brands to move on with innovative initiatives on online/offline integration and prepare for the reducing output from this year's Singles' Day."

Data sourced from AdMaster; additional content by Warc staff