What have Chinese bought during Singles Day 2017?

December 18, 2017
Industry News
Content Provided By:

Kantar TNS
[email protected]

How do consumers feel about their experience on Singles Day 2017? Beyond physical goods, which categories of virtual goods and services are more popular?

China’s Singles Day is undisputedly the largest e-commerce sales event in the world. As it enters into its ninth year, Alibaba announced that its platforms (B2C brand Tmall and C2C brand Taobao) on November 11 alone sold goods worth of 168.2 billion yuan, 39% higher than a year ago. JD.com, another leading B2C e-commerce platform, for the first time announced its Singles Day sales result: goods worth of 127.1 billion yuan were sold during its “11.11 Global Shopping Carnival” (November 1 till 11), an annual increase of 50%.

Then, what do Chinese consumers think of their purchasing decisions and experiences during this year’s Singles Day?

Kantar commissioned Lightspeed to launch an online post Singles Day survey on November 12 while the panellists’ memory were still fresh. The design of the questionnaire has been aligned with our pre Singles Day survey (note 1), which enabled us to compare their intention and actual purchasing behaviour.

When? How much? Any regret?

The earliest sign of another strong November 11 sales was that it took Tmall only 3 minutes and 1 second to break 10 billion yuan mark, which took 6 minutes 58 seconds last year.
In terms of the money people spent, the most mentioned budget during our intention survey was 1,000 yuan to 2,000 yuan (23%). However, it turned out that many people had changed their minds because only 19% eventually spent that much. The brackets of under 500 yuan (intended 17% vs actual 21%) and 2,001 yuan – 4,000 yuan (16% vs 20%) are the ones that the actual proportion was higher than planned proportion. And 2,001 yuan – 4,000 yuan is also the most mentioned bracket.

https://cn-en.kantar.com/images/socialPopup_arrowIndicator.gifNearly half respondents (48%) agreed that “I spent more than last year”, while 23% said “about the same as last year”. It is worth noticing that 25% actually spent less than a year ago, 9 percentage points higher than in our pre Singles Day survey.

Categories: winners and bigger winners  
This is the first time that we divided all categories into three major divisions: physical goods, virtual goods and services. By comparing our panellists’ intentions and their actual decision, we can see that virtual goods sold better than initially thought (23% vs 18%).
Among all physical goods categories, apparel turned out to be the most popular category (62%) as predicted. Shoes and foods, two categories whose popularity were neck and neck in our pre Singles Day survey, changed seats in the post Singles Day survey: foods (49%) won by 7 percentage points. This was the second year that we noticed this phenomenon: foods always sold better than initially thought.
Among those who bought virtual goods, 65% bought video website membership, a distant leader compared with No.2 gaming account top-up (48%) and No.3 online service (such as cloud storage) (46%). Among those who bought services, hotel accommodation (60%), tour services (49%), gym membership (43%) and plane tickets (43%).

Brand power

In our pre Singles Day survey, we noticed that Singles Day, known for big discounts, is also a good window for premium brands to expand consumer base, because 64% panellists said they want to buy the high-end brands they won’t be able to afford during normal days. In our post Singles Day survey, we found that it was realized: 61% buying respondents “bought those brands that I have always liked but haven’t tried because of high price”. The same proportion of panellists “continued to buy the brands I have always bought”.  

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