China is the world’s largest mobile app market by just about every measure. And with China expected to grow to almost 740 million smartphone users by 2019, the country’s power within the mobile industry will only continue to strengthen.1 This means that Singles’ Day — which is the biggest online shopping day within both China and the world — should be on the radar of advertisers all around the globe.
The Biggest Mobile Shopping Day Worldwide
In addition to being the world’s largest mobile app market, China is also home to the world’s largest mobile shopping day, Singles’ Day. The date of this special shopping holiday, November 11 (11/11), was chosen due to the symbolic loneliness of the number “1.” On Singles’ Day, people celebrate being single and treat themselves to the things they have always wanted.
In 2017, Singles’ Day set new global records by driving $25.3 billion in sales, the majority of which happened on mobile devices.2 In fact, mobile accounted for a whopping 90% of the 1.48 billion payments processed through Alipay.3
The Smaato platform also saw an impact from consumers’ increased mobile usage on Singles’ Day in 2017. Mobile ad impressions on the Smaato platform spiked +20% above the two-week average two days before Singles’ Day as consumers prepared for the shopping extravaganza. Mobile ad impressions then remained high throughout Singles’ Day until returning to normal levels on November 13. This increase on our platform is likely a result of mobile’s growing share of online shopping traffic and revenue in the country.
In a study conducted last year, about two-thirds of respondents indicated that they plan to start their Singles’ Day shopping before November 11, with the majority beginning one week ahead of time. What is interesting for advertisers is that these early shoppers tend to have a higher budget — shoppers planning to begin shopping two to three weeks before Singles’ Day are expecting to spend $454 (¥2,981) and $349 (¥2,295) respectively.4
Singles’ Day Goes Global
Although it originated from a university in China in 1993, Singles Day has since gone global, presenting an opportunity for advertisers and publishers to take part regardless of their location. Last year, 60,000 international brands sold to half a billion Chinese consumers, while more than 600 million consumers in Southeast Asia gained access to Singles’ Day sales through the Taobao Collection on Lazada.5
Singles’ Day also outperforms all of the major US shopping holidays such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2017, Singles’ Day sales actually eclipsed the retail sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Here are our key takeaways to help you win double this Singles’ Day:
1. Apps Are the Place to Be
With mobile gaining ground as Chinese consumers’ preferred purchasing medium, it is expected that daily ad impressions will continue to increase during this year's Singles’ Day.
2. Home Field Advantage
Despite Singles' Day going increasingly global, the vast majority of Singles’ Day shoppers are in China. With a unique mobile ecosystem, advertisers need to ensure that their content is in Mandarin and tailored for the Chinese audience.
3. Early Bird Gets the Worm
With consumers increasingly doing research prior to their purchase, it is prime time for advertisers to capitalize on Singles' Day and start their campaigns early.
Sources: 1Statista, 2018 | 2Alizila, 2017 | 3Alibaba, 2017 | 4AppAnnie, December 2017 | 4Fung Global, 2017 | 5Fung Global, 2017