Singles' Day 2019 In 2018, Singles’ Day experienced a 27% Year-on-Year (YoY) growth, achieving a record RMB213.5 billion. That’s US$30.8 billion in 24 hours. More than 180-thousand local and international retailers participated in the Chinese mega-event known as the anti-valentine’s day. With record numbers and strong growth, it’s easy to see why Singles’ Day has eclipsed Cyber Weekend to become the world’s largest retail event.

Retail revenue in Australia increased by 16% on November 11, 2018, according to Rakuten Marketing data. Data collected from across markets that Rakuten Marketing operates in, also revealed that Apparel and Accessories was the top-performing vertical with global growth of 11%, while sales for Department stores grew 23% YoY.

Taking a closer look at what people in China are buying, The 2019 State of e-Commerce, Asia-Pacific revealed that Groceries & Household Goods, Consumer Electronics and Beauty Products are the most popular categories for consumers in China to shop, with Men’s and Women’s Fashion features prominently as a high area of spend. The report also highlights that Chinese shoppers have a high preference to purchase from international brands when purchasing Beauty and Luxury products and Watches & Accessories.

For international brands looking to capitalise on the world’s biggest shopping event, this provides an opportunity to reach and engage consumers. But how can brands outside of China reach this lucrative market?

Understand how consumers are shopping:
Thirty-two per cent of total retail spend and 52% of online spend in China takes place on mobile. This is the highest of any APAC country and highlights the importance of a robust mobile strategy for brands to be successful in the region.

A mobile optimised site may be enough in some markets to convert consumers, however, research reveals that 60% of mobile purchases in China are taking place in-app. In fact, 31% of consumers in China are more inclined to purchase from a brand if they have a mobile app.

In addition to shopping on mobile, brands should be aware of what is most deterring consumers from purchasing. The ability to return an item, concerns over payment security and poor online experiences are the strongest blockers to online shopping. Brands who can navigate these blockers will see more conversions.

Form strategic partnerships:
Affiliate partners are an invaluable tool for international brands looking to leverage Singles’ Day sales. By tapping into the extensive knowledge of their partners, brands receive guidance into the type of promotions and exposure that drive strong results over the holiday.

In addition to providing guidance, partnering with Concierge partners allows brands who don’t ship to or operate in China to overcome logistical challenges and reach local consumers. Concierge apps can help to translate promotions and websites into consumers preferred language. Provide real-time customer service in local languages, facilitate local payment options and work with third-party logistics companies to have products shipped to consumers in China.

To offset the cost of using third-party logistics companies to have purchases shipped to China, savvy shoppers turn to Cashback sites. In fact, shoppers in China are 20% more likely to complete a purchase when Cashback is offered.

Think outside of China:
It isn’t only consumers in China who are taking advantage of Singles’ Day sales. Outside of China, consumers in Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the UK and USA are contributing to the success and growth of Singles’ Day.

Brands who use the data they have at their disposal to evaluate which countries sales are coming from, and target campaigns accordingly are setting themselves up for success during the event.

Singles’ Day is growing across the globe, thanks in part to the vast number of Chinese people living abroad. Brands should look to partner with affiliates who can push promotions across the Asia region and those who can reach large numbers of Chinese consumers living in countries like Australia, the UK and US.

Brands outside of China looking to leverage Singles’ Day to reach and ultimately convert consumers, need to first and foremost have a basic understanding of the market and how consumers are interacting and purchasing. It’s also vital that they don’t let logistics deter them from participating, there are workarounds both in partnering with unique publishers that can circumvent logistical challenges and by targeting Chinese consumers abroad.

Though Singles’ Day, held on 11.11 is a celebration of singledom, the success of the event and its rapid global growth proves that one doesn’t have to be the loneliest number.

Want to know how you can access consumers in China? Visit rakutenmarketing.com and speak to an expert today.