Consumers follow trend in smart spending for Singles Day shopping festival

Ding Yining
With the year's largest shopping festival here, consumers are showing a trend in smart spending, with less spent on appliances and luxury goods, and more on daily necessities.
Ding Yining

Rational consumption is becoming an increasing trend as the largest shopping festival approaches, with consumers tending purchases with more consideration.

Nielsen IQ's latest survey shows 89 percent of respondents are participating in the shopping event, with daily groceries and personal care consumables becoming the top choice.

Online channels have become an even bigger contributor for fast moving consumer goods sales, climbing 9 percent in the first three quarters compared with an overall FMCG sales increase of 0.4 percent.

Bain & Co's study of 3,000 domestic consumers shows 77 percent of them are planning to spend less or maintain spending this year, while over one third said that they were waiting for better promotions to make their money go further.

Shoppers are tending to spend more on necessities such as tissues, handwash, 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 still seeking small indulgences in areas such as dining out and travel.

Emerging platforms such as short video, livestreaming and social sites that blur the boundaries between entertainment and retail have garnered interest from shoppers.

Bain's partner in retail practice James Yang points to the structural slowdown of the event due to its longevity and scale.

"When looking deeper in to the general spending intentions beyond Singles Day promotions, 71 percent of respondents would cut or maintain retail spending through 2023."

Young families especially households with children are even more prudent, Kantra Worldpanel points out, as they tend to spend less on each purchase but buy more frequently for daily consumables.

Partner, and China Lead for Consumer & Retail practice at Alix Partners Britton Russell also believes shoppers are more prudent and aware of potential purchases than ever before, as they seek maximum value with every purchase.

"Shoppers are carefully researching options across channels and platforms to discern true product differentiators beyond reduced price tags, such as product quality and sustainability," he noted.

Consumers follow trend in smart spending for Singles Day shopping festival

Highlights have been shed on low prices, on-demand delivery services, and the rise of livestreaming.

As many as 80 million products on Alibaba platforms are also at their lowest prices of the year.

JD said the number of individual entrepreneurs and small business owners participating in the event jumped eleven fold compared to a year ago.

The transaction volume of over 700 brands selling on JD Worldwide, its import and cross-border channel, more than doubled in the first week since October 31 when the promotion officially began.

During this year's Singles' Day, over 400,000 offline physical stores joined its on-demand retail platform JD Daojia, doubling the number of participating stores from last year.

Major department stores and supermarket chains have also leveraged livestreaming and already seen fruitful results.

The latest trend is fully reflected during this year's Singles day promotion, with supermarkets and department stores also fully leveraging digital ecosystems and delivery networks.

Hunan Friendship & Apollo Commercial Co which operates appliance stores and shopping centers, recorded 50 million yuan of sales in its inaugural live-streaming event on Meituan at the end of October.

Consumers follow trend in smart spending for Singles Day shopping festival
Ti Gong

Livestreaming sessions have been staged by department stores and supermarkets to fully leverage the promotional season.

Special Reports