China Singles Day: a retail goldmine

China Singles Day is an entertaining festival widespread among young Chinese people, to celebrate the fact that they are proud of being single.

To celebrate these singletons like to shop, for some reason.

Regardless of motive, the opportunities an event like this presents is vast, and global retailers should be taking advantage.

Delivering an effective online shopping in China is a challenge for outside retailers, but the benefits are worth investing in overcoming this.

In a market with 600 million internet users, sales last year hit $14.3 billion, in comparison to the $1.35 billion taken on Black Friday. This is predicted to rise to $20 billion this year, which is absurd. But profitable.

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With a rapidly expanding population, China is by far the largest e-commerce market in the world, forecast to reach $1.1 trillion by 2020. China Singles Day is the largest retail day of the year, by some margin.

Digital performance specialist Dynatrace has tested the websites of retailers around the world to see how geared up they are to maximise their revenue potential on the biggest shopping day of the year, and found that global retailers need to be doing more to tap into this market.

Chinese retailers are outperforming the global competition, with an average time of 3.4 seconds before their websites become usable for Chinese customers (compared to 7.7 seconds for global retailers).

>See also: UK retailers fail to capitalise on burgeoning e-commerce in China

H&M stood out as a shining light amongst the global retailers; with an average time of just 2.4 seconds before customers could start interacting with its website from China.

Lean website design is critical to success in the Chinese e-commerce market; the best performing sites have minimal third-party host integrations, lighter pages with a low object count, and are hosted locally, in China or Hong Kong.

Dave Anderson, VP Marketing EMEA and APAC for Dynatrace explained that by “digging a little deeper, we can see that the better performing sites are typically designed for speed. They use minimal third party hosts and keep objects in check. Page weight is also an important consideration – the lighter the better. Another fundamental, strategic decision is to host content locally or in HK.”

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Anderson went on to suggest that “user experience is fundamental to e-commerce success today, so retailers must be ready to tackle new markets with a localised site strategy. You can’t just replicate a site from another country, attach a local URL and assume it will work. This is especially the case in China.”

“You need to be careful about how you use Google APIs, YouTube, marketing automation software or cart abandonment tools. Big images, video and pop up ads also create complexity that result in a poor experience for Chinese consumers. Best starting point is to strip the site back and measure the performance of everything very closely.”

Alibaba is providing stats from the ‘festival’ in real-time.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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