This blog was written by Ping-Han Yang, who recently completed an internship at Hallam.
For many retailers or e-commerce brands, Q4 can be make or break; traditionally the peak retail season, it’s the busiest time of the year, with months of work having gone into forecasting to understand customers’ purchasing intentions so that advertising and marketing resources can be placed most effectively.
However, in addition to researching your customers’ favourite products and channels, it’s vital to be aware of other retail trends that might offer additional opportunities to tap into this peak sale period.
The UK has a habit of adopting American retail trends (think Halloween or Black Friday) but there’s another opportunity for a sales spike which may not have been on your radar. This year, here’s why you should consider adding the Chinese retail event, Singles’ Day, into your peak trade campaigns.
What is Singles’ Day?
This e-commerce festival takes place on the 11th November every year and is basically a 24-hour discount event, much like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
With origins that began in 1993, Singles’ Day gained notoriety in 2009, when Chinese tech giant, Alibaba, launched its first Singles’ Day online shopping festival on its own B2C e-commerce platform, TMall.
After more than ten years of celebrating, its turnover has soared from 52 million RMB (£5m) in 2009 to over 540 billion RMB (£63.2bn) in 2021. Not only that, but other online platforms and physical retailers are also offering huge discounts on this festive day. For example, JD.com – another e-commerce giant in China second only to Tmall – also reached a turnover of 349.1 billion RMB (£40.8bn) on the same day.
These sales figures make it unquestionably the largest shopping festival on the planet.
Is Singles’ Day a thing in the UK?
Whilst there’s still a lot of room for growth compared to the performance of the Chinese market, the total UK Singles’ Day revenue has increased from £1.11bn in 2018 to £1.52bn in 2020.
Whether by adopting an e-commerce platform like Tmall as the main channel or launching the deal directly on their own website, many well-known brands such as ASOS and Burberry have also taken part in Singles’ Day promotions.
Why should UK retailers include Singles’ Day in their Q4 campaigns?
In addition to running UK-based campaigns, e-commerce brands should look further afield. Since the majority of Singles’ Day shoppers are based in Asia, Singles’ Day brings an opportunity to gain a whole new demographic of customers.
British brands remain popular with Chinese consumers due to their reputation for quality and quintessential Britishness, with Chinese consumers willing to pay 8% more for British-made products and with 64% of Chinese shoppers saying they are now buying more British goods than they did five years ago.
Alibaba also unveiled a plan named “Go Global Pitch Fest” last year to help British companies and retailers wanting to enter the Chinese market, using the Singles’ Day event as a channel to reach Chinese customers quickly and giving brands some suggestions on how to do business in this huge market.
Mei Chen, Head of International Business Development at Alibaba, explained: “There is huge demand from Chinese consumers for foreign goods, especially UK brands, which are associated with high quality, heritage and are at the forefront of fashion.”
Wondering if you’ve covered all your bases for peak trade this year? With a turbulent Q4 forecast for 2022, our experts have put together our peak trade guide to help you through the rollercoaster ahead.