It’s the 10th anniversary of Alibaba’s biggest invention: the Single’s Day (Double 11). It marked another record-breaking sales figure, but the growth is shifting to other platforms.
The Double 11 is a cross-platform e-commerce phenomenon. The total Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) of all platforms reaches 314.3 billion RMB, a 23.8% year-over-year increase. Tmall holds 68% of the market share. Yet other platforms are eating up the market share. A new platform to join this e-commerce craze is Pinduoduo, taking 3.0% of the market share.
The second biggest player JD.COM also has a record-breaking year. GMV reached to 159.8 billion RMB, taking up 17.3% market share.
WeChat shops, although not included in the above statistics, are also becoming a major channel for Double 11 sales. We will share a few case studies of Single’s Day WeChat promotion later in this article.
Tmall Double 11 Data
Here is the highlight of the Alibaba’s Double 11 sales:
The gross merchandise value (GMV) reached 10 billion RMB within only 1 minute.
The total GMV reached 214 billion RMB (30.8 billion USD), a 27% year-to-year increase. It’s still an impressive record despite the (expected) slow down in growth.
The percentage of mobile purchases has reached an all-time high of 91.2%.
The sales are more concentrated on the top Tmall brands. There are a total of 237 brands reached Single’s Day sales of 100 million RMB. In 2017, the 100-million-club only had 167 brands.
8 brands’ GMV reached above 1 billion RMB this year. They are Apple, Xiaomi, Huawei, Midea, Haier, Nike, Adidas and Uniqlo.
The month-long pre-sale is becoming less effective
Both Tmall and JD started the pre-sales one month before the Single’s Day. Both market the pre-sale period into themed holidays. Consumers are encouraged to participate in countless campaigns:
- Play games to click around the Apps to gain points
- Group up with friends to win lucky draw prices
- Purchase coupons for Double 11 at a very low price
- Purchase a pre-sale item to guarantee a lower price during the Double 11 day
- Signup for premium memberships
- Download other Apps in the Alibaba ecosystem to win points
The rules to get a coupon are becoming more complicated than ever. The Taobao Red Envelope game even has a full page of instruction on how to join the campaign in 3 ways. It also encourages users to spend a bit of time every day to just click around on the App. The below data shows such pre-sale tactics seem to have lost in efficiency in 2018.
The number of products joining the pre-sale promotions raised from 3.6% in 2017 to 6.2% in 2018. However, the sales generated from pre-sales dropped from 34.6% to 33.2%.
Cross-border e-commerce works well for specific categories
According to Tmall Global’s Double 11 statistic, the biggest import countries are Japan, the US and South Korea.
The biggest exported item from China is clothing.
Cross-border e-commerce is also concentrated in cosmetics, mother & baby, and F&B categories.
Other Tmall Double 11 data
Consumers from the Southern coast of China have the highest purchasing power. Guangdong and Zhejiang are the top ranking provinces.
Here is the brands ranking list of the top 5 categories on Tmall.
To read more, here is the sales ranking of the top brands in each category (in Chinese).
WeChat shop becomings a major e-commerce channel during the Double 11
The lifestyle short-video WeChat account Yitiao has impressive Double 11 sale. During the Single’s Day, Yitiao recorded 88.1 million RMB of sales, a 622% increase from the 12.2 million RMB sales in 2017. The company sold 250k orders during the Single’s Day. The top selling products are in the home electronics category.
Yitiao is a 4-year old startup that started on the WeChat Official Account. The company grew so much that it even launched 3 offline stores in Shanghai selling over 2,000 lifestyle brands. The sales channel of Yitiao now includes offline stores, App, H5, and a WeChat Mini Program shop.
Xiangqi Youxuan 香气优选 is a Mini Program store that belongs to the WeChat Official Account 灵魂有香气的女子. The content focused on stories of successful females. The Official Account is operated by a small team of 22 people. This is the first year it joins the Double 11 event, and they reached 1.5 billion RMB sales.
Most of the traffic comes the 5th and 6th of Official Account article. The Mini Program store also has brand ambassadors to build a multi-level revenue sharing system. Each ambassador recruited a network of members via personal WeChat account to help to sell products.
Yunji is a multi-layer revenue sharing WeChat platform for consumer products favoured in 2nd and 3rd tier cities. It reached 2.59 billion RMB sales this year. The company recorded 13 million orders.
The platform sold 24 million RMB worth of Three Squirrel snacks.
Yunji is a platform that enables a customer to easily create a store and resell via WeChat Moments. By September of 2018, Yunji has 4.5 million reseller network. This network is very effective when selling a well-known brand to the 2nd or lower tier cities.
Single’s Day is becoming an all-platform sales phenomenal. The sales growth is slowing down and consumers respond less to sales promotions. In order to minimize risks, brands shall place less resource of the Double 11 but focus more on the monthly shopping holidays throughout the year.It’s also crucial to test out social commerce before it’s too late.
2017 Single’s Day sales data, 39% YOY growth on Tmall
You’ve been waiting for them. Here they are: the results of this year’s latest Single’s Day insane buying craze!
Double-11 scored an impressive 168 billion RMB on Tmall. The GMV reached 10 billion RMB within first 3 seconds!
This represents a 39% increase over last year! (while double-11 sales increased of “only” 32% between 2015 and 2016).
Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu ranked as the top-3 provinces in terms of transaction volume:
Tmall released the top 50 best-selling oversea brand on it’s cross-border platform. Sport, cosmetics, leather goods, footwear and month & baby categories are all dominated by oversea brands.
Consumer electronic stores led the way in terms of best-selling stores during Single’s day:
Other stores performed extremely well:
- Apple led the way in terms of smartphone sales, followed by Xiaomi
- HLA performed best in terms of male apparel, ahead of UNIQLO
- Pechoin was number 1 for cosmetics
- Camel was number 1 store in the footwear category
- The startup Three Squirrels (selling nuts and other food products) got first place in the F&B category
The success of Three Squirrels also shows the extent to which Single’s Day give opportunity to new brands to make a headway over established competitors: the startup from Anhui is only 4 years old and yet managed to be the best-selling F&B store of Double-11!
The flagship store of 3 squirrels, the best-selling F&B brand of Single’s day
JD.COM’s GMV reached 127.1 billion RMB for Single’s Day
JD, the biggest competitor to Alibaba announced its 100 billion RMB GMV for its Single’s Day promotion, counting from Nov 1st to the morning Nov 11th.
A fight over numbers between JD and Tmall
Alibaba and JD.com have been engaging in a harsh social media fight during the Single’s day.
The reason for that fight? JD.com announced it had surpassed 100 billion RMB GMV results on 7:46am November 11th, one hour earlier than Alibaba.
The problem with that number? JD.com started counting on the 1st of November… (beginning of the Single’s day promotion period)
It therefore took JD.com more than 10 days to achieve the GMV that Tmall reached in only 9 hours.
Prior to Single’s Day, JD also accused of Alibaba forcing merchants to run exclusive promotion on Tmall platform. The competition between the 2 giant e-commerce players is only getting stronger.
The largest e-commerce festival in China shows no sign of slowdown. It actually got back to accelerating growth!
Although a lot of the top-selling stores are high-profile brands, some very new startups made their way all the way to the top. Single’s Day is also a good opportunity for new entrants in the Chinese market to catch customers eye, and accelerate their growth through the rest of the year.