singles' day 2018 blog postSingles’ Day 2018

Donna Meagle knows how to live the high life in Parks & Recreation when she and Tom Haverford plan their epic annual Treat Yo’ Self shopping excursion. What are they buying? Clothes, fragrances, massages, and anything else high end you can imagine. Newsflash: There is an actual holiday that encompasses this indulgent behavior and it’s called Singles’ Day. But what is Singles’ Day and why have most Americans never heard of it?

What is Singles’ Day?

Singles’ Day, which happens annually on November 11, began in the early 1990’s as an anti-Valentine’s Day movement. It was started by university students in China as a day when single people would celebrate being single and buy things for themselves, because you don’t need nobody but you, baby. Even the date itself, 11/11 is made up of four one’s, driving home the celebration of solidarity. Do you have to be single to enjoy the sales? Absolutely not! Plenty of couples and families take advantage of the opportunity to indulge and spend.

Singles’ Day is the world’s largest retail event, having eclipsed Cyber Weekend sales globally for the last 2 years. What are people buying? Luxury items are most popular, followed closely by fashion, accessories, and travel. Consumers in over 220 countries participate in Singles’ Day shopping. How are people buying? While most shoppers scout what they want to buy online, it’s recommended to know what you want in your cart prior to 12:01 AM on 11/11. Items run out of stock and the hot deals go fast, if you spend too much time browsing you could miss out.

Why is it Important?

Why is Singles’ Day so important to United States markets? In August 2017, the US Census Bureau reported that 45.2% or 110.6 Million US residents age 18 or older, are single. At nearly half of the country’s population, that’s a huge group of consumers that marketers could be engaging with Singles’ Day promotions and sales. Having a spending holiday in early November encourages consumers to spend more money sooner, at a time of year when they’re already reaching deep into their pockets.

The problem? There’s a lack of awareness. According to a study done in July 2018 by eMarketer, only 7% of internet users in the United States reported being aware of Singles’ Day, whereas 88% reported knowing about Black Friday and 81% Cyber Monday. Increased awareness of Singles’ Day in US markets would lead to more spending and higher profits. By investing in advertising to market Single’s Day promotions in the US, marketers can get those millennials to spend their money on something other than avocado toast.

Singles’ Day in the US

singles' day 2018 in the usIn 2017, Singles’ Day grossed $25.3 billion in gross merchandise volume with a total of 1.48 billion purchase transactions. Those numbers make the record-breaking $3 billion spent on Black Friday and $3.45 billion spent on Cyber Monday look like small potatoes. While there isn’t much data available on how much was spent or how many consumers in the US participated in Singles’ Day shopping in years past, the spending holiday continues to grow and we can expect that it will become bigger in the United States as it evolves. There is a National Singles Day group, dubbing September 21 as National Singles’ Day in the US, with the idea to recreate the Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza on a day other than 11/11.

Is it a good idea to change the date in the states? Possibly. In the US, November 11 is recognized as Veteran’s Day, and most Americans spend time with friends and family to honor military veterans who have served in the Armed Forces.

But don’t fret, singles in the US have a couple of unofficial holidays that celebrate going solo albeit without the shopping spree.  February 15 was dubbed Singles Awareness Day,  however the acronym “S.A.D.” has turned sour what should be a sweet celebration of eating half-priced assorted chocolates out of cardboard hearts alone in your sweatpants. There’s also Galentine’s Day, February 13th, made popular in 2010 by Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) from Parks & Recreation, a day when single or taken gals get together for “ladies celebrating ladies,” because you don’t need a partner to feel fulfilled and content in life.

Strategies to Singles’ Day 2018

You don’t have to tackle Singles’ Day alone, or head into this opportunity blind. Take a look at these strategies below, provided by our Australia-based expert Rhiannon Farrar, on how to capitalize on Singles’ Day. And for even more insights on Singles’ Day, be sure to check out Rhiannon’s blog post on how Singles’ Day impacts APAC shopping during Q4!

1. Work with your partners:

Leverage the extensive knowledge of your affiliate partners to ensure success over the Singles’ Day period. Affiliates are a wealth of knowledge and understand what motivates and drives their audiences to purchase, be guided by their recommendations for promotions and exposure as they will be key to success for international retailers.

Once you’ve established what promotions you will be offering, the most important step is communicating this with your partners. There are a variety of ways affiliates can promote a retailer over Singles’ Day with additional exposure, including (but not limited to) bespoke eDMs, sponsored content and paid placements. Placements for additional exposure opportunities are limited, be prepared to offer compelling promotions and increased commission, flat fees or a bespoke coupon code to aid in securing exposure.

2. Test, review and refine:

For those who are Singles’ Day newbies, use this year as an opportunity to trial promotions and offers to see what best works for your brand. Collate performance data and feedback from affiliates.

If you’re a retailer who has previously participated in Singles’ Day, one of the most valuable assets you have at your disposable is your data. Review the performance of previous years campaigns to get a sense of what worked, what didn’t and use this information as a means for shaping your Singles’ Day strategy.

Further to this, conduct a deep dive into the performance of your affiliate partnerships. Review the performance of new partnerships that have arisen since the previous year’s event, to reveal new campaigns and strategies that can be leveraged to optimize campaigns.

3. Leverage Concierge Apps:

Concierge apps are among the most popular platforms used by consumers in China to make shopping from international sites simple. On the Rakuten Marketing affiliate network, Concierge Apps are among the top performance drivers in the APAC. Gathering product and brand information through product data feeds or web crawlers, these apps make it easier for international retailers to engage and convert Chinese consumers by:

  • Translating a brands website and promotions into the users preferred language.
  • Working with third-party logistics companies to ensure consumers receive their order, regardless of whether the retailer ships to China or not.
  • Allowing Chinese consumers the ability to purchase from international retailers by connecting with Alipay or WeChatPay.
  • Providing western retailers with the ability to provide real-time customer service in the local language.

Conceirge Apps are a great solution for brands looking to extend their reach internationally, but for US-based brands looking to focus on local markets you may want to consider a strong social engagement strategy on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Whether you’re buying a full Batman suit, a new car, a massage, or luxury perfume; splurge, enjoy, and treat yo’ self on Singles’ Day!

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