China’s Singles’ Day 2016 could see sales exceed $20bn, reports KPMG

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KPMG UK believes that sales on Singles’ Day this year could exceed $20bn. The uptick is likely to be driven in part by Hong Kong and Taiwan adopting the event for the first time, as well as purchases made by China’s growing rural middle class.

11 November now marks a firm fixture in the Chinese retail calendar. Commonly referred to in China as Singles’ Day, the annual anti-Valentine’s celebration sees many online retailers slash prices resulting in a consumption frenzy. Last year’s Singles’ Day yielded over $14bn – more than double the $6bn in sales generated last year during the U.S. e-commerce holidays of Black Fridayand Cyber Monday combined.

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “Given the continual growth in popularity of Chinese Singles’ Day, there is no doubt that sales this year will be bigger than ever. It reinforces the growing buying power of the Chinese consumer and the increasing prominence of the date in the retail calendar.

“With such consumer attention placed on Singles’ Day, we could see sales jump significantly as major campaigns launched in Hong Kong and Taiwan encourage consumers to join in the action.”

This has followed continued investment by the Alibaba network (taobao, alipay, Tmall) in their e-commerce platforms to encourage domestic and international retailers to participate. Using Tmall Global, international businesses can sell goods to consumers in China without the need for a China business licence. Last year 30,000 international brands from 25 countries took part in the sale, all looking to target the lucrative Chinese consumer market.

70% of all transactions were made on mobile devices during Singles’ Day 2015.  Rural consumers are also key targets for retailers. A recent KPMG report found that rural consumers in China shop less frequently than their urban counterparts but spend more when they do, and are largely focussed on luxury items.

However, Singles’ Day sales in the UK are likely to remain subdued. Paul Martin, said: “Despite the participation of international brands, Singles’ Day hasn’t yet reached British shores, perhaps in part due to the date being shared with Remembrance Day in the UK. With Alibaba now extending the event to Hong Kong and Taiwan, it is beginning to gain global momentum though.”