Workers at an e-commerce logistics industrial park sort packages on an express delivery line in Lianyungang, east China’s Jiangsu province, 5 November 2023.
Nuphoto | Nuphoto | Getty Images
BEIJING — Most Chinese consumers plan to limit their spending during this year’s Singles’ Day shopping holiday, which ends on Nov. 11.
That’s according to a Bain and Company survey of more than 3,000 consumers nationwide, released Tuesday.
Originally launched by the Chinese e-commerce giant Ali BabaSingles’ Day has evolved from a one-day shopping festival to a multi-week period of shopping promotions across different online platforms in China.
Enthusiasm has waned, and nearly half of consumers surveyed this year also said they were switching to cheaper brands or private label products, according to the Bain study. Private label products tend to be less expensive than comparable major brands.
For this year’s festival, more than three-quarters of consumers surveyed – or 77% – said they did not plan to increase their spending, according to the report.
That’s slightly higher than the 76% reported last year, and up significantly from 49% in 2021, according to the report.
Slowing economic growth and concerns about future incomes have weighed on consumer spending in recent years.
“Look at the macroeconomy as a whole. Consumer confidence remains a little bit lower than it was pre-Covid,” James Yang, a partner at Bain, said in a telephone interview.
“There are more costs [consciousness] with consumers to know where and how they want to spend their money. »
This year, “we anticipate there will probably be more supplies of consumables,” Yang said.
Keeping silent on the total numbers
Last year, Alibaba and the online retail giant JD.com for the first time, declined to disclose gross merchandise value for Singles’ Day, an industry measure of sales over time.
Bain estimates that including other platforms, Singles’ Day e-commerce GMV increased 3% to 934 billion yuan ($128.25 billion) in 2022.
Taking into account an additional 181 billion yuan spent on live streaming and content-driven e-commerce, the total GMV of last year’s festival exceeded 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion), according to the report.
For context, these Chinese market figures are still several times higher than $35.3 billion that Adobe Analytics said U.S. consumers spent online in 2022 for the local equivalent: Thanksgiving week, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Live streaming and posting videos or photos on social media as a way to sell products has taken off in China. Both Alibaba and JD.com offer live streaming functions. Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, has become a major platform for individuals and retailers selling to consumers via livestreams.
“The share of live streaming is expected to continue to increase,” said Bain’s Yang.
He added that different types of consumers also spend differently. Those with higher incomes generally continue to spend, while the blue-collar population cuts back on spending, he said.
“The middle class fluctuates between the two,” he said. “People are more cautious in how they compromise and what they want to buy.”