Sonny Hovsepian: Don’t get singled out on Singles Day

Sonny Hovsepian: Don’t get singled out on Singles Day

By Sonny Hovsepian, senior digital strategist, Cheil Australia.


Singles Day is not complicated

If you asked your family and friends what Singles Day is, most wouldn’t have an idea. In fact, it’s the world’s largest online shopping event, dwarfing powerhouses like Black Friday and Cyber Monday by at least 5x!

Legend has it Singles’ Day was first started by Nanjing University students in the early ‘90s, who exchanged gifts with one another as an anti-Valentines Day gesture.

Jack Ma, Founder/CEO of Alibaba then took this tradition and blew it up to the masses by creating a new online retail event. Crazy huh?

Don’t settle for less

It’s slowly gaining traction here in Australia with many retailers slowly taking part in this global retail event, and for good reason.

In 2021, Alibaba and JD – two of China’s biggest online shopping platforms – reached a new total Singles’ Day sales record of US$139 billion. This equals out to about AUD $204 billion.

Single, partnered, it’s complicated… It’s for everyone

Naturally, the event speaks to Chinese audiences both in mainland China and worldwide, including Australia. It has become a key selling opportunity for brands all across the globe.

Through market research and purchasing studies, it’s been noticed that Chinese customers tend to skew towards health, beauty and baby products the most during this sale. On top of this, they spend more than the average Australian.

Opportunity calls

As you can see, there is an enormous opportunity here for Australian brands to speak to a cohort of customers not tapped into previously, and that alone could propel your company to new heights with repeat business and brand affinity.

The ‘if’ and the ‘but’

Thanks to inflation and the increase in living expenses, on a global scale consumers are wary about the current state of the economy, with almost half believing we are entering a recession.

In 2022, 54% of Australians are trying to save more and reduce spending, avoiding the temptation by browsing less in-stores and online.

The top two items that have been cut from consumer spending are leisure travel (61%) and fashion beyond basic wardrobe (59%), so there may still be hope for those Singles Day retailers that don’t play in these spaces.

Therefore, while there are muted expectations, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit.

What’s on offer?

Most retailers like to create % offers that play on the event date – 11/11. The majority will opt for an 11% discount, like The Good Guys, and JB Hi-Fi have done in past years. There are also others who have increased the discount offer. The Iconic doubled the ‘11’ trending amount by offering 22% off sitewide.

In 2021 many retailers adopted a flat 30-50% discount offer on a specific range of products. So as you can see there is no hard and fast rule, as long as you provide value.

Lastly, younger consumers are more likely to spend extra on products and services that reflect their values, so make sure your brand is clearly communicating what and who it stands for. You may find yourself shepherding real fans into your ecosystem.

A new space to play

In conclusion, Singles Day is an exciting time of year and essentially the first cab off the rank. There isn’t much saturation in the Australian market, so this is an opportunity for you to capture the most share of voice for your business.

Marketers are constantly testing and improving on current market and industry trends. Our advice?

“As an industry, retail is obsessed with putting customers first. What better way for brands to let key unique communities know you see them and they matter to your business, than by participating in holiday sales like Singles Day,” says Ora Randle, Strategy Director at Cheil Australia.

In conclusion, consider jumping on the Singles Day bandwagon before it even becomes an overly saturated, unofficial national holiday in Australia.