Singles Day 2022 was quieter than past years
Singles Day, or Double 11, holds the title of the largest online and brick-and-mortar shopping day in China and the world. Launched in 2009 by Alibaba, China’s top online retailer, the event offers online discounts and offline entertainment.
This year’s event was notably muted, however. Alibaba has chosen to keep silent on the final Singles Day sales tally, leading to speculation that growth this year was small to flat.
NielsenIQ survey data of 1500 Chinese consumers found that many had a tighter hold on their wallets than in years past. The main driver for consumers shopping on Singles Day this year was to stock up on daily essentials (61%), with 42% of respondents stating that they shopped to stock up on food on Singles Day.
Consumers leaned less into luxury this year
62% of Chinese consumers surveyed noted that they came, sought out, and purchased inexpensive, cost-effective value products. Only 21% of consumers noted that they shopped for luxury items.
Deals this year were different with brands notably prioritizing consumer loyalty. Brands were clearly seeing what offers could entice, build, and reward brand loyalty.
Shopping out of habit
Interestingly, 51% of Chinese consumers surveyed noted that they shopped out of habut. We may see the same type of activity on Black Friday where consumers may habitually show up to check out the deals but may opt to purchase groceries over gadgets this year.
Our survey data shows that Chinese consumer spending was fairly high with 40% of respondents noting they felt very confident in their spending.
That said, an equal amount (40%) of Chinese consumers indicated that while they felt somewhat confident in their ability to spend, they limited their spending during this year’s Singles Day event.
Chinese consumers continued to shop via live stream with 57% of surveyed respondents noting that they shopped in a brand-owned live stream room. This is an interesting note, given the weight of influence that live stream social influencers hold on Chinese consumers.
Meanwhile, (38%) noted they shopped in an influencer live stream while (33%) noted they shopped in a celebrity live stream.
A focus on sustainability
Sustainability was top of mind for Chinese consumers with 78% of respondents indicating that they took an extra effort to shop sustainably during this year’s Singles Day.
What we can learn from Singles Day
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, there are some potential takeaways brands and retailers can take from this year’s Singles Day.
Expect consumers to show up to shop the tradition, but with limited spending—think stocking stuffers over big-ticket items. This year’s shopping vibe will be strongly influenced by practicality and frugality.
It seems as though the sentiment of deal day dilution is also real. For many consumers, deal-day shopping moments have blurred into the backdrop of the daily norm. Deal-conscious consumers have essentially been picking away at their holiday list since last summer.
Similar to what we saw in pre-holiday sales, expect to see consumers stocking up on a mix of holiday gifts and everyday essentials. This is true for both online and offline -sales. Watch for loyalty plays where deep discounts may be replaced with stronger rewards for brand loyalty,
The lure of in-store experiences and the instant gratification of shopping in stores will also attract people to stores this year. Retailers who have invested in smart technology that aims to reduce the traditional friction of in-person shopping have the strongest opportunity to build shopper affinity and loyalty.
For Cyber Monday, beyond the traditional deals, keep an eye on the rising trend of live stream sales for beauty and Metaverse brand engagement events.
Global Holiday Hub
See how shoppers plan to spend around the holidays—from online shopping events to in-person celebrations—with NielsenIQ’s Global Holiday Hub.