The Double 11 Shopping Festival, also known as Singles’ Day, has become synonymous with peak consumerism in China. Yet, as we approach 2023, the landscape is shifting. This year, we’re seeing a return to rationality, a rise in local brands, and the untapped potential of the “silver economy.”
Consumer Behavior: A Rational Return
Gone are the days of impulsive “buy, buy, buy” mantras.
Today’s consumers are more discerning, seeking value for money, and brand credibility over the lure of influencers and livestream promotions. The impact of livestreams has waned, with only 22% of consumers citing it as a key purchasing factor, a decline from 32% in 2021.
Market Trends: The Price Wars
E-commerce platforms are intensifying their competition on pricing, with aggressive strategies like price matching and guarantees of the lowest prices on the web. This year’s theme for JD.com’s Double 11 is “Real Cheap,” reflecting a market shift back to core retail principles: value for money.
The Rise of Domestic Brands
Chinese local brands are set to be the biggest winners of Double 11 this year.
A significant 66% of consumers plan to increase their spending on domestic brands, turning away from international products.
This trend is driven by a deepened trust in the quality and safety of local brands, with young consumers actively seeking local alternatives to overseas brands, especially in apparel and accessories.
The Silver Economy
With over 280 million people aged 60 and above, China hosts the world’s largest “silver” consumer group, many of whom are proficient in using the internet and smart devices.
They represent a vital yet understated market segment, with a buying motivation split between seeking discounts and enhancing the quality of later life. The influence of family and friends plays a significant role in their purchasing decisions, indicating that reputation and word of mouth are paramount within this demographic.
For Double 11 in 2023, expect the following:
- A market driven by rational consumer choices, with less emphasis on influencer marketing and more on product quality and brand reputation.
- A surge in domestic brand loyalty, as consumers prioritize local products over international offerings.
- An emphasis on pricing strategies, with platforms offering various subsidies, price guarantees, and direct discounts to capture market share.
- A need for tailored marketing strategies to cater to the growing silver economy, which seeks quality, usability, and trustworthy recommendations.
The Double 11 Shopping Festival of 2023 is shaping up to be a battleground for price and value, a showcase for national brands, and a testament to the discerning power of the silver economy. As consumer behavior becomes more rational, e-commerce platforms and brands must adapt to these evolving trends to captivate the Chinese market.
The 2023 Double 11 event showcased a total online retail sales volume of 515.56 billion yuan during the peak sale period (October 31st to November 3rd), marking a 9.5% year-on-year increase. This growth signifies robust overall performance amidst an evolving e-commerce landscape.
According to data from Xingtu, the total GMV on comprehensive e-commerce platforms totaled 277.7 billion yuan from 8pm 10 November till the end of 11 November. 60% from Tmall, JD.com about 28%, Pinduoduo 7%. Cross-border import e-commerce accounted for 34.1 billion yuan.
Strategic Shifts and Platform Performances
A noticeable shift this year was the focus on low pricing strategies across platforms. Major e-commerce giants like JD.com, Tmall-Taobao, Douyin, Kuaishou, and Pinduoduo emphasized offering the lowest prices, with individual approaches to discounts and subsidies.
The sales distribution among platforms was quite varied. Tmall led with a 35.4% share, followed by JD.com (21.6%), Douyin (9.6%), Taobao (8.6%), and Pinduoduo (6.7%). The combined Tmall and Taobao, forming the Taobao-Tmall group, dominated with a 44% sales share.
Douyin’s rise to the third position highlights the increasing acceptance of its e-commerce model, which integrates interest-based shopping, short video content, and live-streaming.
The 2023 festival saw more diversified and personalized consumption. There was a notable acceleration in high-quality, experiential, and interest-driven consumption. Products catering to unique hobbies like rock climbing, surfing, and camping gained popularity, along with smart products like open-ear headphones and electric adjustable desks.
Health management and beauty products also saw a surge in demand. The trend towards “home-based healthcare” led to increased sales of oxygen concentrators, blood oxygen monitors, hearing aids, and electric wheelchairs. The anti-aging segment, particularly home beauty devices, witnessed explosive growth.
Individual Platform Highlights
JD.com: Achieved record-breaking sales, orders, and user numbers. Over 60 brands surpassed 1 billion yuan in sales, and nearly 20,000 brands saw a more than threefold increase in transaction volume compared to last year. The platform also reported significant growth in live broadcasting viewership, with a total of over 380 million views.
Tmall: Reported 402 brands exceeding 1 billion yuan in sales, with national brands making up a significant portion. The platform witnessed a historic peak in user visits and continued to expand its market share, especially in lower-tier markets.
Douyin: Experienced significant growth in GMV, with daily GMV of certain products exceeding one million yuan. The platform’s “official discount” strategy played a key role in this success, highlighting social commerce’s and live streaming’s power in driving sales.
These insights reflect the robust nature of China’s e-commerce ecosystem and underscore the changing consumer preferences and strategic shifts among the leading online shopping platforms. The Double 11 festival continues to evolve, setting new trends and benchmarks in the global e-commerce landscape.