Luxury and fashion categories boomed this Singles’ Day. Some luxury brands on JD.com and Tmall provided consumers with 24-month interest-free payment installments and discounted items.
Besides attractive deals, the platforms focused on bringing the luxury consumer experience online. For instance, Gucci and Prada offered gift customization services. Valentino, Canada Goose, and Coach created animated posters using AI technology. More than 20 brands engaged with consumers in private one-on-one livestreaming sessions.
From luxury and fashion to beauty, major players have obtained outstanding results during this Singles’ Day. Are Chinese consumers actually tired of the annual shopping festivity?
Fashion and luxury
For the first time, Kering’s flagship label Gucci joined Tmall’s Double 11 festivities, alongside more than 200 luxury brands. Luxury behemoths — LVMH, Richemont, Kering, Hermès, and Chanel — have released 100,000 new products altogether, including limited edition items, co-branded models, and out-of-stock blue-chip pieces.
In the first hour of Singles’ Day, sales of Gucci, Burberry, and Ralph Lauren exceeded that of the whole Double 11 day last year. On JD.com, Dior, Tiffany and Co., and Bottega Veneta’s turnover increased by more than four times year on year (YoY).
But the big winner on the platform was Italian label Valentino, whose sales expanded more than six times during the festival compared with last year. On October 24, the maison launched a dedicated campaign for Double 11, featuring celebrity and brand ambassador Guan Xiaotong sporting a selection of Rockstud handbags and footwear from Valentino’s Black Tie Fall/Winter 2023 collection.
Beauty dynamics change
In the beauty and skincare category, domestic skincare label Proya shone brightly, growing more than 120 percent in sales on JD.com. Alongside Proya, L’Oréal, Lancôme, and Estée Lauder were the most popular brands with consumers on JD.com and Tmall.
Despite all the controversy around Tmall’s top anchor Li Jiaqi over the past months, with some guessing whether it could be the end of his era, domestic media outlets reported that the beauty mogul’s cumulative livestreaming revenue during this shopping bonanza could have surpassed $3.4 billion (25 billion RMB). But the news has been refuted by Li’s company MeiOne, stating that they don’t release those figures.
With the guochao trend in beauty on the rise, China’s homegrown skincare labels topped Tmall’s Singles’ Day sales rankings. Unlike in previous years, when international brands occupied all the leading positions, local names made their way to the top of the list to directly compete with their global rivals.
Although L’Oréal ceded first place to Proya in the beauty category, it still secured the first position as the best-performing fast-moving consumer goods brand this year on Tmall. Rounding out the top 10 list are, in order, Olay, Vichy, La Mer, Shu Uemura, Helena Rubinstein, and Guerlain.
Meanwhile, perhaps surprisingly, Jo Malone London, Tom Ford, and Yves Saint Laurent took the top three perfume category spots. This confirms Chinese consumers’ rising preference for niche perfume houses over heritage brands such as Dior or Chanel. Niche names, like Byredo, Diptyque, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Penhaligon’s, and Creed, also made it into the top 20 list.
Categories on the rise: jewelry, watches, sportswear and underwear
Following China’s winter sports trend, the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022, and the popularity of athletes like Eileen Gu, sales of ski-related items on JD.com, such as ski goggles, jackets, and pants, increased by over 100 percent. Ski brands like Nitro, Terror, and Flow Theory saw their sales grow more than seven times.
In terms of categories’ performance on JD.com, gold watch and women’s watch sales increased by over 130 percent YoY. Chinese gold jewelry brands like Chow Tai Fook, Chow Tai Sang, and Chow Sang Sang boomed, each growing sales by more than 100 percent this year.
Regarding underwear brands, Victoria’s Secret, which has embarked on a new global brand refresh and China strategy, grew sales by over 200 percent YoY. Additionally, Bananain and Ubras also increased sales by over 100 percent.
The future of 11.11
For the second consecutive year, China’s major e-commerce player Alibaba did not release its Singles’ Day GMV results. This year, the platform only confirmed that it had achieved positive growth and released brands’ sales rankings.
After years of record growth, some consumers’ enthusiasm for the Singles’ Day shopping event is declining due to the proliferation of year-round discounts and livestreaming sales. Overall, the perception is that Singles’ Day no longer offers unique savings.
According to a Bain report released last week, the consultancy found that only 23 percent of the 3,000 consumers it surveyed had planned to spend more this year, whereas 77 percent plan to spend less or maintain their spending at 2022’s level.
Yet, despite China’s economic concerns and its roller coaster of discount festivities, Singles’ Day 2023 results show that luxury brands are still doing well. Valentino, whose handbags exceed $2000 (15,000 RMB), has achieved a 600 percent sales growth YoY during this shopping bonanza.
With improving living standards and deeper knowledge and education of luxury brands, young consumers are boosting heritage houses and designer brands’ sales during Singles’ Day. For first-time buyers, Double 11 remains a unique opportunity to purchase their desired luxury pieces with discounts or installment offerings and even receive complementary gifts.
On the brand side, taking part in the festivity is a chance to reach potential buyers and interact with them. According to Tmall, this year, 20 million new buyers and 140 million additional orders came from lower-tier cities.
As China’s biggest shopping festival matures, e-commerce platforms must reevaluate and reinvigorate their strategies to maintain consumer interest and excitement in this still-thriving shopping extravaganza.
Additional research by William Zhou