November is a great sales month in the UK thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but brands that don’t think globally are missing out on an even bigger opportunity in the form of China’s Singles’ Day, a 24-hour shopping event that far exceeds the sales figures notched up by retailers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
What began as a day to buy yourself a gift to celebrate being single in China has evolved into a day of record-setting sales, and more and more UK retailers are getting in on the act.
PayPal Global Merchant Initiatives Director Melissa O’Malley points out that the UK is the second most popular overseas online destination for Chinese shoppers. She added that they spend nearly three times more per transaction and are twice as likely to make repeat purchases, making this an opportunity that is too good to pass up.
Here is a look at a few of the UK retailers that are already capitalising on the phenomenon.
For British fashion retailer Topshop, the decision to participate in Singles’ Day is a no-brainer. The Guardian reports their Singles’ Day sales in 2015 rose 900 per cent compared to the year before, and a spokesperson said the occasion was a great way for them to raise their brand awareness.
Marks & Spencer
Since signing up for Alibaba’s Tmall in 2012, Marks & Spencer has enjoyed a successful presence in China. On Singles’ Day 2016, they noted double-digit growth over the year before, with kidswear making up a third of sales.
Holland and Barrett
The health food shop chain, which sells vitamins, supplements, and sports nutrition products, reportedly made nearly half a billion pounds of revenue on Singles’ Day in 2015.
British supermarket chain Waitrose has a marketplace on Alibaba’s Tmall, and they recently started participating in Singles’ Day. Offerings include baby products and cosmetics in addition to tea and coffee.
After noting strong sales that far exceeded their expectations in 2016, fashion retailer New Look is now sold on the concept of Singles’ Day. Their numbers were as much as triple those of the year before, with accessories and footwear being their top performers.
The Cambridge Satchel Company
The British bag maker’s biggest-ever day of sales came on Singles’ Day in 2015, when they generated more than £590,000 in sales on Tmall and their own website. Cambridge has become a must-have brand in the country, and it is now their second-biggest territory after the UK.
The Hut Group
The Hut Group reports seeing “massive spikes” in sales on November 11 in China. They own sites like supplement store Protein World and beauty sites like Lookfantastic, where they offer as much as 40 per cent off of haircare products on the day.
British luxury fashion brand Burberry also participates in Singles’ Day. Whilst they did not discount any products last year, they did offer personalised cashmere scarves that proved to be a hit with consumers.
As Singles’ Day continues to set sales records and its profile rises, more UK retailers are expected to take part.