Eleven Takeaways from 11.11 (Singles' Day)

Eleven Takeaways from 11.11 (Singles' Day)

Held in China annually, Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival (also known as Singles’ Day) is the world’s biggest retail event. To mark this year’s 11.11, WPP’s global strategic consultancy, BAV®, led by David Roth, hosted a marathon broadcast, 9 days in total, over the 11-day period of the festival. VMLY&R COMMERCE contributed thought leadership and case studies, and hosted masterclasses and interviews for all Asia-Pacific attendees. 

11.11 provides critical lessons for our clients and teams, that go beyond the obvious scale of market. So we put together “Eleven Takeaways from 11.11”, which we highlight below. Want the full scoop? 

To quote Michael Evans, President at Alibaba Group: “if you want to know what the future of global retail will look like, just look to China today.” Check out our expanded insights here.

Eleven takeaways from 11.11:

  1. Commerce On a Different Scale — At $84.54 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) for Alibaba alone over the 11-day period, it’s the world’s biggest shopping festival! 
  2. More than a Mega Sale — As KokHwee Ng (Zespri Senior Marketing Director, Greater China) told us, “what shoppers are getting…is non-stop content and entertainment.”
  3. Livestreaming the Future — Since China invented (or perhaps perfected) the idea of livestreaming commerce five or six years ago, it has been responsible for billions of dollars in incremental sales. 
  4. A Focus on Making Shopping Fun — “Shoppertainment” or ‘Entertainment Commerce”, including gamification via mobile, is a core part of the approach. 
  5. Brands Operating at “China Speed” — Brands bring exciting new products and packaging to market in double quick time for Double 11. 
  6. Data Drives Everything — The success of 11.11 is built on data and exampled by the Tmall Innovation Center – the dedicated retail innovation arm of Tmall. Chris Tung, Global CMO of Alibaba said when interviewed by David Roth, “the platform can help expedite the product development process and ensure a higher degree of success”.
  7. It’s Beyond Alibaba, Beyond China — Alibaba leveraged “Singles’ Day” and turned it from a niche university celebration into the world’s biggest retail festival. But it is now far bigger and broader than Alibaba or China itself.
  8. Are We Seeing “Festival Fatigue”? — Besides 11.11, there is 9.9, 10.10 and 12.12. But while there are many “sale days”, there is only one Double 11. 
  9. Star Performers: Luxury, Health, & Wellness — China’s luxury online penetration has surged to 23%, and at Tmall Global, the health category grew 50% year-on-year. 
  10. Reaching Out & Giving Back — Diversity and inclusion were key to the festival. By design, about two-thirds of the 290,000 merchants who participated in 11.11 in 2021 were small and medium-sized enterprises, with about 70,000 joining the event for the first time. 
  11. Selling Sustainably — “Over the last 12 years, Double 11 has showcased the tremendous consumption power of Chinese consumers…we (now) believe we must leverage the power of Double 11 to encourage sustainable development,” said Global CMO Chris Tung. 

For the duration of the 2021 festival from 1 November to 11 November, WPP broadcast live from the WPP BAV® Alibaba Command Center Studios in London and Sydney. Check out all the thought-provoking, informative and fun sessions from the likes of Alibaba Group CMO Chris Tung, President Michael Evans, AUNZ MD Maggie Zhou, and Lazada Chief Business Officer James Chang + more here