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09 November 2021
Singles' Day craziness subsides in China
Purchase behaviourEvent tie-insE-commerce & mobile retail
Alibaba’s Singles’ Day is still big business even if it no longer has the same draw it once had as the nature of the event changes. China's biggest annual online shopping event started in 2009 to mark a day where young Chinese single people celebrate their independence by treating themselves to something special.
Why it matters
Interoperability is increasingly common. Forced exclusivity (when merchants are tied to a particular platform) is no longer permitted and platforms are having to both allow links to rivals and to accept rival payment methods. There are also reports that platforms may be asked to let competitors access and display their content in search results.
Then there’s the rise of year-round live streaming, when consumers can expect to pick up bargains on a regular basis. At the same time, other platforms, like JD.com and Kuaishou, are running their own events ahead of 11-11.
And economic growth has slowed, which is affecting incomes and household spending.
The signs are still good though: during its first Singles’ Day presales period this year, e-commerce platform Tmall’s gross merchandise value grew more than 50% year-on-year, the South China Morning Post reports; while other e-commerce platform, Taobao Live, also saw sales increase 89% year-on-year.
Over half of consumers plan to use three or more platforms during Singles’ Day this year, according to a recent survey by consultancy Bain & Company.
Anecdotal evidence suggests consumers are allocating a smaller budget to this year’s event.
There is also evidence consumers are put off by the complexity of many Singles’ Day deals.
“In the early stage of Double 11, we focused on growth, the same way that parents would focus on a child’s height and strength. But as a child becomes a teenager, the parents shift their focus to nurturing the child’s sense of responsibility and the role he or she plays in society. And that is what we are doing now” – Chris Tung, chief marketing officer of Alibaba.