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Report: Chinese shoppers’ interest in Singles’ Day slips


While Singles’ Day has morphed into the world’s biggest shopping extravaganza, the event’s allure may be losing some luster.

In 2015, Alibaba said sales had reached 51.9 billion yuan (around $7.7 billion U.S. dollars), more than the total sum of the sales in the Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday last year in the United States. However, this year, there may be a bump in the road, according to a study by AdMaster, a marketing data technology firm in China. The report reveals thoughts among 720 million Chinese netizens anticipating the eighth annual Singles' Day.

Singles’ Day’s past successes are clearly causing a commotion worldwide, and more domestic retailers are eager to find ways to participate. However, the hype may be starting to wane a bit among shoppers, as only 71% of respondents claimed they would participate the coming Singles' Day — a drop from 84% last year, the report said.

A shopping day reserved for the “younger generation,” Singles’ Day may be losing some luster as more shoppers among “older generations” increase their participation. In fact, shoppers under 25 years old said they would not be as active as last year, with only 64% planning to shop — a drop from 84% in 2015, and the biggest drop among all age groups, the report said.

Other shoppers blame poorly planned logistics for their waning interest. For example, slow logistics delivery has been a constant factor impacting Chinese netizens’ (25%) decision to skip the carnival. Another 24% of shoppers said they would not participate because there have been too many promotions on e-commerce platforms, data revealed.

The event is also not as exclusive as years’ past. For example, when Singles' Day was initiated by Alibaba eight years ago, it was dominated by the three main e-commerce platforms: Taobao and Tmall, both owned by Alibaba, and These big three are losing the attention of netizens, who are turning their attention to smaller e-commerce platforms. Specifically, ranks fourth right after the big three, with 31% of shopper attention, up from 20% last year, the study said.

“This is the eighth Singles' Day, and data showed that it is moving into a new stage, which represents a different game and a different attitude of e-shoppers in China,” said Maggie Wang, AdMaster commercial and innovation VP. “Singles' Day is losing its dominant status in terms of consumer's attention or key players' presence. And Chinese e-shoppers are spoiled by continuous promotions and immediate delivery.”

There are some constants among the shoppers, however. For example, “apparel and accessories,” "skin care and cosmetics,” “food and beverage,” “personal care,” and “mobile phones and digital products” have remained the top five most favorable categories for the past two years, and this is expected to continue this year, according to data.

Similarly, mobile devices remain the preferred shopping device for the shopping carnival. More than 27 million purchases came via mobile devices in the first hour of last year’s Singles' Day, according to Alibaba. The smart phone remains their most favorite device for the Singles' Day shopping this year, as well, the study said.

“As we always advise marketers, Singles' Day should not be seen just as a retail promotion on an e-commerce platform, it is about consumer engagement with the brand,” Wang said. “With the decreased 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.”
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