Retailers ready for world’s biggest sale

Retailers ready for world’s biggest sale

Fri, 10/11/2017 - 09:54
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Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang at last year's festival. Photo: www.alibabagroup.com

Australian retailers are gearing up to cash in on the world’s largest retail event, with consumers expected to shell out more than $US20 billion ($26 billion) on China’s Singles Day, also known as the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

Singles Day was introduced by Alibaba in 2009, and has swiftly become the world’s biggest retail phenomenon. The promotion was initially marketed as the opposite of Valentine's Day, with consumers encouraged to spend on themselves rather than their significant others.

Last year, Alibaba’s Singles Day sales exceeded $US17.8 billion ($23.2 billion), a 32 per cent rise on 2015.

By comparison, the Black Friday sales which have become a focal point for United States retailers hit a record sales figure last year of just over $US3 billion ($3.9 billion).

And Alibaba no longer has a monopoly on Singles Day sales, with its main e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall facing competition from JD.com and vip.com, suggesting the spending from Chinese consumers will easily exceed $US20 billion ($26 billion) in 2017.

A survey by Chinese digital marketing agency AdMaster showed a third of respondents expected to spend around RMB 2,000 ($392) while the average spend is expected to be around RMB 1,731 ($340).

Clothing, cosmetics and skincare products are popular buys, as are electronics, food and drinks, baby products and luxury items, the survey said.

Many Australian companies have been cashing in on the phenomenon, including Chemist Warehouse, Swisse, Blackmores and Sanofi Consumer Healthcare, which each signed individual collaborative agreements with Tmall to expand their presence on the platform in September.  

Last year, Chemist Warehouse alone sold more than $19 million in merchandise on a single day of the festival.

Tmall Global statistics showed Australia ranked as the fifth-highest gross merchandise volume country in 2016, out of around 40 merchant countries that participate in the sales.  

This year, Western Australia-based wine merchant Dawine will participate in Singles Day for the first time, having begun preparing for the sales earlier this year.

In September, Dawine began shipping premium wines from Australia, France, Italy, Chile, Spain, New Zealand and Argentina to ensure it can respond to orders swiftly – a key feature of successful participation by retailers in Singles Day.

“Our Tmall store is the primary focus in securing a footprint in the China retail wine market, and the exposure associated with being involved in Singles’ Day is a massive boost in this exciting time for Dawine's growth,” executive chairman Piers Lewis said.

“Shareholders will notice more and more activity on our WeChat and Tmall stores over the coming months as the Dawine name becomes more recognised in the booming China retail wine market."