Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival 2022 kicked off the first check-out period at 8pm Beijing time on October 31. According to the Chinese e-commerce giant,building brand loyalty is a key focus this year, as well as the use of virtual idols to tap into China’s younger shopping market.
Through enhanced shopping experiences powered by new technologies and the development of brand-centric and platform-based loyalty membership programs, merchants are looking ton transform customer loyalty into sustainable long-term growth this 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.
Moreover, brands are tapping virtual idols during this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival as they venture into the metaverse to attract China’s younger generations.
Alibaba Group’s hyper-realistic computer-generated influencers Ayayi and Noah are taking up positions as brand ambassadors to help retailers build brand profiles and amass followings among China’s digitally-native consumers.
Launched in May last year in collaboration with Ranmai Technology, Ayayi is the first virtual influencer in China. She is known for her pearlescent hair and calm personality, which has helped her gather over one million social media followers.
Ayayi acted as host and curator for a metaverse-themed digital art exhibition in Shanghai between Oct. 21 and Oct. 24 and met visitors in an all-immersive experience powered by sound, light and animated projections.
“We want virtual idols to help brands with the digital upgrade and reach out to younger consumers,” said Rocker Hu, manager of digital marketing at Alimama, Alibaba’s digital marketing arm.
Virtual influencers have multiplied from roughly nine globally in 2015 to more than 200 this year, according to digital research group Virtual Humans. In China, the virtual idol industry more than doubled between 2019 and 2021, data from market consultant iResearch shows.
Luxury powerhouses, including Dior and Gucci, have led the way by hosting virtual runway shows, and Ayayi has partnered with over 30 high-end brands, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Prada, for marketing campaigns in China.
In an increasingly segmented consumer market, new products launched during the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival have also fueled the exponential growth of multiple emerging sectors. During the first hour of this year’s presale period, more than 3,000 brands doubled their GMV compared to last year, according to Alibaba.
The pet economy is continuing to take shape, supported by the unique “dual membership” of pets and their owners. Pet-related GMV generated during the first hour of the presale period surpassed the total GMV generated during the entire first day of last year’s presale period. The live streaming channels of 14 pet stores saw GMV exceed CNY one million (according to?)
Outdoor recreational activities are gaining popularity in China. On the first day of presale, orders of skateboards and rollerblades recorded a more than 10-fold year-on-year growth. Categories such as winter sports, hiking, and camping continued to proliferate.
Collectible toys also showed robust performance. GMV for the toys category this year surpassed last year’s first hour GMV in less than half the time. GMV of emerging category designer toys grew almost six-fold year-over-year on the first day of presale, with GMV of homegrown mechas (what is this word?) increasing more than 450 percent. Outdoor recreational activities for children have also gained popularity, with children’s bicycles, skateboards, and backpacks becoming top sellers.
The beauty category enjoyed sales that exceeded expectations across the board, whether international, Chinese domestic, or emerging brands. In the first four hours of the presale, 52 beauty products registered more than CNY 100 million in sales, and four brands recorded sales exceeding CNY 1 billion, according to…
More than 200 luxury brands are participating in this year’s 11.11, including LVMH, Richemont, Kering, Chanel and Hermès. The brands collectively will debut more than 100,000 new products in categories including bags and suitcases, jewelry, beauty, beverages and more. In addition, customers visiting the brands’ Tmall Luxury Pavilion flagship stores will be able to enjoy interactive experiences such as 3D, augmented reality (AR) and extended reality (XR) in addition to new premium services like one-on-one video customer services, premium packaging and customized engraving.
Chinese National Bureau of Statistics indicate that consumer confidence fell 25.9 percent year-over-year in August due to uncertain economic conditions, continued COVID-19 concerns, and ongoing property woes.
A year-over-year sales growth rate of around 11 to 12 percent is expected for major platforms such as Tmall, JD.com, Douyin, and Pinduoduo during this year’s Singles’ Day, according to Jacob Cooke, founder and chief executive officer of WPIC, an Asia-focused data and digital marketing agency This is less than half of previous years’ 20 to 30 percent growth rate. Although Singles’ Day offers fewer buying incentives than last year, it remains the most important shopping holiday of the year.
A survey conducted by Alix Partners, which sampled 2,000 Chinese consumers from different regions and demographics, found that younger consumers were more likely to increase their spending during 11.11 this year as compared to last year. In the age group of 22 to 26 years old, 64 percent of consumers intend to increase their spending, while 61 percent of consumers in the age group of 18 to 21 years old intend to increase their spending.
Based on the findings of this study, 48 percent of consumers plan to increase their expenditures in the category of necessities and high-quality products compared to last year. Some 44 percent of respondents plan to increase their spending on clothing, fashion, and footwear, while 38 percent intend to increase their spending on home care and lifestyle products.
As the largest e-commerce platform in China, Tmall will focus this year on retaining 88VIP customers. In addition to receiving a 5 percent discount on items from over 300 merchants, these loyal customers also pay an annual fee of CNY 888, or USD 122. During the 618 shopping festival, China’s second-largest shopping festival after Singles’ Day, these loyal shoppers contributed more than 40 percent to the growth of brands’ sales.
Tmall has been able to create more clout around its Singles’ Day campaign by having Austin Li, a live streaming star, back online after a three-month hiatus. Li attracted more than 450 million viewers on October 24, the first day of pre order sales, double that of last year’s Singles’ Day, according to local data agency Morketing Research. During Li’s live streaming session, Morketing estimates pre order sales reached 13.2 billion renminbi, or USD 1.8 billion. Pre order sales records were broken by brands such as La Mer, Proya, and Zhuben, in comparison to last year.