Another Singles’ Day and another dizzying array of records: Almost $70 billion worth of goods sold just on China’s top two platforms including $38.4 billion on Alibaba and $29.2 billion over the 11-day sale on JD.com. It was a 27% rise across the board from 2018. On Alibaba alone, 299 brands surpassed ¥100 million ($14.3 million) in GMV. One million new products were launched and over 50% of Tmall merchants engaged in livestreaming. Delivery companies hired an extra 400,000 workers to handle the 2.8 billion packages expected to be delivered this week – two packages for every person in China!
Studying the behaviour of the 500 million shoppers on Alibaba platforms during the festival (100 million more than last year), delivered some interesting findings. According to research conducted when emotions were still raw from the NBA incident, 78% of Chinese consumers claimed they’d avoid buying US products on Singles’ Day. Like so many insights and data in China, this looks to have been a little far-fetched. On 11.11, the US was the second-most popular origin for imported goods after Japan and, of the 15 brands whose sales blew past ¥1 billion ($143 million), more than half were American: Apple, Bose, Estée Lauder, Gap, Levi’s, Nike, The North Face and Under Armour.
The cheerful results for American brands comes off the back of more positive news for another country currently in the ‘dog box’. Last week, coinciding with the plethora of announcements at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, Canada’s four-month ban of beef and pork exports to China was lifted. Although the Huawei arrest issues persist, the decision reflects the impact that the African Swine Flu is having on China’s favourite source of protein. By last month, the number of live pigs in China had fallen 41.1% year-on-year and pork prices surged 101.3%, including a 20.1% rise just in the last month.
Much like Canadian beef and pork, the outlook for imported food and beverage looks strong overall. Food safety continues to be the top societal concern amongst consumers in China. Food is just one area that continues to show promise for foreign brands based on Singles’ Day and last week’s CIIE. At the expo, global health care giants such as AstraZeneca, Boston Scientific, Eli Lilly and Thermo Fisher Scientific made it no secret that they are increasing their focus on China to capitalise on its soaring health needs.
All in all, Chinese consumers’ enthusiasm to spend continues, providing plenty of reasons to invest in China. Yet not everyone is feeling happy with their lot. 49.6% of Chinese residents feel either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their overall quality of life, 5% less than in 2017. For China’s younger demographics, top concerns are education, employment, housing, healthcare and entrepreneurship.
The good, bad and ugly are obviously all important for brands seeking to understand, connect with and inspire Chinese consumers. Talk to China Skinny about how we can delve much deeper to provide you with that objective view.
In other news, China Skinny is looking to hire another intelligent and curious native English speaker to join our star-studded team as a marketing executive/manager. The role is based in Shanghai. If you are interested, or know someone who may be, please click/tap here for more information. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.