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Shoppers search for value during Singles Day shopping festival

By Wang Zhuoqiong | | Updated: 2023-11-07 14:37
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[Zhao Guopin/China Daily]

More than three-quarters of consumers are planning to spend less or maintain spending during the Singles Day shopping festival this year, urging retailers to tailor to the value-conscious mood while raising their game to entertain and delight shoppers, according to industry survey.

Bain & Company's "Singles Day" report, which includes an annual survey of 3,000 consumers across a wide range of Chinese cities, has found that the consumers are more value-conscious, as Singles Day, which has evolved into a weeks-long promotional event around November, has progressively been emulated by rival events in an increasingly crowded retail calendar.

A significant proportion of respondents (35 percent) said that they were waiting for better promotions to make their money go further, while 18 percent were eyeing bulk deals. However, an even bigger proportion (48 percent) of consumers said they were opting for cheaper brands or switching to private label products.

The flight to value is having a polarized effect across product categories, according to the report. Shoppers are spending on necessities such as tissue, hand soap, instant noodles and pet food, while also trading down and buying less in discretionary or big-ticket categories such as home appliances and furniture. Yet, at the same time, they are also still seeking small indulgences in areas such as dining out and travel, the report has found.

The report also found that Chinese shoppers are willing to devote their attention to more novel platforms that blur the boundaries between entertainment and retail, particularly in livestreaming or short video e-commerce platforms.

Interestingly, the rapid growth in livestreams or short video penetration is not yet matched by average spending per livestream or short video customer, which significantly lags traditional e-commerce platforms. The shortfall tallies with concern around customer service.

"A winning formula in China will combine everyday value with inspiration, amusement or diversion. For instance, standing out for value-conscious shoppers might involve expanding a private label offering or providing unbeatable value," said Melanie Sanders, head of Bain's retail practice in Asia Pacific, based in Melbourne.

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