11.11 Shopping Festival in China Best marketing strategies

11.11 Shopping Festival in China: Best Brand Strategies & Trends

As November 11 approaches, Chinese consumers gear up for the biggest shopping season in the local market. The impact of this festival is relatively connected to the fact that it occurs on the same day as China’s Singles Day.

In 2020, around 800 million consumers participated in this virtual shopping event. With customers seemingly eager to celebrate singlehood and spend money, this unofficial holiday is an excellent opportunity for foreign brands to gain visibility within the highly segmented Chinese e-commerce market.

Join us as we discuss how Western companies can take advantage of this annual celebration, along with other insights about its effect on today’s Chinese online shopping trends.


What is the 11.11 Shopping Day in China?

Before 2009, November 11 was just a day associated with celebrating Anti-Valentine’s Day. It was an unofficial holiday until the Chinese e-commerce giant Tmall launched their Double 11 shopping festival on the platform.

After that successful campaign, it became more than just a date but an avenue for discounts and retail promotions that consumers look forward to every year. This online shopping day bridges the gap between the October festivities in autumn and the upcoming winter.


Photo by 行摄 先生 from Pexels


Unlike in October, there was no official November holiday to urge the local market to spend money and boost the economy. Single’s Day celebrations represent an opportunity for brands to stipulate consumption among single folks and other local customers.

On top of that, the symbolism of the number 1111 gives the impression that this unofficial holiday is specifically targeted at single people. It created an unspoken tradition where consumers buy gifts for their potential partners, an advantage many brands now enjoy in today’s economy.


How big is Singles Day in China?

This Chinese holiday has become a major shopping event in many other countries, but its significance for local consumers has not wavered. In 2021, Singles’ Day sales generated 965 billion yuan in China through online transactions alone.

If you look at the graph below, the sheer size of the festival’s online shopping sales in 2011 can’t compare anywhere near the revenue it can produce today.


Online transaction value of Singles' Day sales in China 2011-2021

Online transaction value of Singles’ Day sales in China 2011-2021 (Source: Statista)


According to CNN Business, even as the Chinese economy faced challenges due to the after-effects of the world-shattering pandemic, the Singles’ Day sales still showed a slight uptick of 5% over the previous year.

The Singles’ Day shopping festival coincides with major e-commerce events in other countries (like Black Friday and Cyber Monday). However, due to China’s Great Firewall policies and fast-paced digital landscape, the influence of Double 11 remains strong on local digital landscapes.


Best 11.11 Shopping Festival Strategies for Foreign Brands

The massive Singles Day sales and the growing market of the Chinese e-commerce landscape are a testament to the opportunities foreign companies can utilize to promote their brands.

Major Western businesses like Burberry and Chanel have already caught on to this long before, and now their double 11 campaigns are helping them maintain brand awareness and increase sales within the Chinese market. If you want to do the same, here are some of the strategies you can consider:


1.   Market Your Brand Through Social Media Channels

With over 88% of the Chinese population active on at least one of the top local social media platforms, it’s safe to say that these online channels are great avenues to reach your target audience.

A few apps you can consider utilizing for your Single’s Day promotions are WeChat, Little Red Book, Weibo, and Douyin. These platforms have massive user bases and unique features that foreign marketers can use to customize their campaigns and resonate with their target audiences.


WeChat Account set up for 1883

SDG’s work with 1883: Official Brand Account on WeChat


Utilizing a social commerce platform like WeChat gives your brand a chance not only to sell directly to consumers but also to engage and communicate with them directly.

Integrating your 11/11 marketing strategy with social media channels provides marketers more control over the local consumer cycle. However, if you want to acquire actual sales, you must ensure that these promotional campaigns resonate with the needs of your potential customers. Through this, you can generate traffic to your brand’s landing pages on Tmall.


2.   Release Event-Related Products on Chinese E-Commerce Sites

It’s not new for Chinese consumers to seek promotional deals during festivals and holidays. Because of this, it’s becoming a trend among brands to launch exclusive festival-related products with Singles’ Day discounts to attract the Double 11 shopping crowd.

Take Valentino’s promotional Blacktie campaign as an example. For this year’s Double 11 shopping festival, the brand released exclusive products to celebrate the event. As of writing, these new goods are available in their virtual storefronts on Tmall and JD.com.


Valentino Double 11 campaign China 2023


The campaign launch was accompanied by other marketing strategies like KOL collaborations and Weibo promotions. By jumping into the Singles’ Day craze, the brand could stay ahead of its competitors, maintain its strong presence in the local business landscape, and generate more sales.

Besides Tmall and JD.com, foreign businesses are encouraged to explore other highly niched e-commerce platforms like Pinduoduo and Xiaohongshu. By doing so, you can expand your brand’s reach and tap into a more specific target audience.

These shopping apps often boost advertisements related to the Double 11 festival during its campaign period. Thanks to this, most participating brands can expect increased traffic and sales on their product pages.


3.   Find the Right KOL to Collaborate With

Speaking of tapping into specific target audiences during Singles’ Day promotions, one of the most effective marketing tools you can utilize is KOL collaborations. No matter which online platform or strategy you choose, working with an influencer can amplify your brand’s authenticity.

Top KOLs often have loyal followers who trust their recommendations and professional opinions. Around 80% of online shoppers in China tend to trust and patronize brands and products vouched by the influencers they’re following.


O2O Cooking Class Campaign Coop

SDG’s work with COOP: Cooking Class KOL Campaign


It’s important to select KOLs carefully, especially because these online personalities will represent your brand to some degree during the Singles’ Day promotions. It’s also more fitting to choose an influencer who is widely known and trusted in the industry that your brand is operating in.


China’s Singles Day: Online Shopping Trends This 2023

●     Gamification is here to stay

Besides the barrage of discounts coming the consumers’ way, the Double 11 festival is also known for its gamified features. These shopping entertainment functions allow potential customers to claim deals from brands.

The promise of discounts through these games is an excellent method to generate more sales. While some shoppers reported annoyance over these features, it’s apparent that this trend will stay in the next few years.


●     Live streaming e-commerce will be more significant

The increased demand for influencer-promoted content has resulted in rising incentives for live-streaming KOLs on platforms like Taobao and Douyin. Online personalities like Viya and Li Jiaqi are leading the industry, generating massive revenues on a single live-streaming session.

Another evidence of this growing trend is the increased number of companies using live streaming on Taobao Live. The previous pandemic has taught many brands to innovate their marketing strategies, and this is one of the trends that will continue to evolve in today’s local landscape.


●     More overseas brands are joining the Double 11 Craze

Despite the pandemic, over 31,000 brands from outside China participated in the Singles’ Day shopping festival in 2020. According to Alibaba, these international businesses are from 84 countries.

Seeing how international brands around the world celebrated and joined the shopping day amidst a global crisis, there’s no stopping new businesses from doing the same now that the restrictions have eased.


Quick Q&A

What is the biggest shopping festival in China?

The biggest shopping festival in China is 11/11 Shopping Day, also known as Singles’ Day. During these events, local online shoppers are seeking discounts and festival-related goods from different businesses. It takes place every November 11 of each passing year.

Why is Singles’ Day celebrated in China?

Singles’ Day is celebrated in China to honor unmarried people. Initially, it was specifically commemorated as an anti-Valentine Day celebration. However, since its evolution as a shopping festival, this day is now an unofficial e-commerce holiday popular around the world.


Ready to Dominate the 11.11 Shopping Festival in China?

The 11/11 Shopping Festival in China is an excellent business opportunity to drive more brand awareness and generate sales for your company. However, if you want to take advantage of its perks, you must understand the local nuances and industry trends that come along with it.


You may also want to read:
China's top festivals for Marketing 2023


SDG’s experienced team is here to guide you through every twist and turn, unlocking your brand’s full potential and ensuring resounding success in China’s 11.11 Shopping Festival.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


Whether it’s crafting compelling advertising campaigns, utilizing social platforms, or collaborating with relevant KOLs for Singles’ Day, we have all the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let us help you navigate the intricacies of China’s business scene.


contact us SDG



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