Singles’ Day 2023: Retailers pursue low price strategies in hopes of consumers opening wallets

singles’ day 2023: retailers pursue low price strategies in hopes of consumers opening wallets

Chinese e-commerce platforms are racing to give consumers attractive deals during this year’s Singles’ Day festival, though the country’s biggest online shopping bonanza has slowly lost its luster as the pushing of low prices has become a standard marketing strategy throughout the year for platforms facing challenges in reviving consumer sentiment.

Why it matters: Emerging retailers such as Douyin and Kuaishou, along with established rivals Alibaba and JD, are turning to direct discounts for shoppers as the 11.11 pre-sale period kicks off because they continue to count on the mega event to encourage consumers to open up their wallets and submit their data, especially in the face of China’s uneven economic recovery.

Details: The Singles’ Day festival is now in its 15th year after it was first co-opted by Alibaba in 2009, who turned an organic, low-key celebration of singledom into a major consumerist event.

  • While “low prices” remains a common advertising term for retail platforms, JD has taken a different approach during this year’s Singles’ Day by skipping the pre-sales period. In the past, this has been the standard way for major Chinese online retailers to record enormous sales sums on November 11th itself and allows consumers to pay an advance deposit for products to secure discounts.
  • Alibaba is betting big on its premium program 88VIP, providing members with sizable coupons worth a total of RMB 20 billion ($2.74 billion), as the group fills with loyal consumers with high spending ability.
  • “We have a desire to return to our original intention of making Singles’ Day a joyful event for consumers,” said Trudy Dai, chief executive of Taobao and Tmall Group. The well-established Chinese e-commerce platform is introducing various entertainment shows and activities, including live music and cross-talk performances during the weeks-long event, to “create a more immersive shopping experience.”
  • JD is once again offering a discount of RMB 50 for every RMB 299 spent, whereas Tmall is providing a similar deal for every RMB 300 spent. Alibaba also said its Tmall and Taobao site will grant a 15% price reduction in addition to the standard discount coupons. E-commerce upstart Douyin, TikTok’s sibling platform, has also adopted a similar strategy, emphasizing its commitment to giving “real price discounts.”
  • Kuaishou was the first mainstream site to begin sales for this year’s Singles’ Day festival, commencing pre-sales on Oct. 18. The short video platform had previously announced that it would invest RMB 2 billion in cash subsidies. Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro, for example, can be purchased for a final price of RMB 8,009 if shoppers pay an RMB 100 deposit.

Context: In the third quarter, China’s economic growth outpaced expectations, indicating that a series of recent policy measures are aiding the initial recovery of the world’s second-largest economy. Retail sales increased by 5.5% last month, beating expectations and also surpassing the 4.6% growth recorded in August.


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