Singles Day, shopping bonanza or giant turnoff?

China’s Singles Day has become the world’s largest shopping event and predictions are of rising sales this year.

But in a survey, Chinese e-shoppers said they are less interested in and less likely to participate in this month’s giant shopping bonanza, with young people and those from lower tier cities being among the least interested, AdMaster said.

Slow delivery and the overflow of promotions over the year are the top two reasons to drag down the e-shoppers’ interest and participation.

Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 10.36.33 PM

China’s Singles’ Day was the world’s biggest online shopping event in 2015 but only 71% of AdMaster survey respondents below the age of 25 said they would participate this year, compared to 84% in 2015.

And while 84% of under-25s said they “liked” Singles day last year, only 64% said so this year.

But many older consumers are also turned doff by the shopping festival as they see it as a young person’s event. Positive feelings towards Singles Day across all ages had risen to 88% last year but have fallen to 80% for 2016.

AdMaster also said people in third tier cities were less likely to feel positive about the day than those in tier 1 and 2 cities.

Reasons for not shopping on and around Singles day this year include slow delivery of goods (25%) as well as the large number of price promotions year-round that mean there is no need to focus on the event (24%).

Another surprise from the survey was that smaller e-commerce platforms are chipping away at Taobao, Tmall and JD.com‘s Singles day dominance.

VIP.com this year ranks fourth after the big three in terms of consumer interest, up from 20% to 31%.

The top five product categories people plan to buy remain unchanged with apparel & accessories, skincare & cosmetics, food & beverage, personal care, and mobile phones & digital products all still popular. However, the mobile/phone digital category fell to fifth place this year from third in 2014 and fourth in 2015.

As far as payment tis concerned, most shoppers (80%) will still use Alipay but its dominance has fallen from 87% last year. Meanwhile WeChat Payment has risen to 42% from 32%.

Maggie Wang, AdMaster commercial and innovation VP, said: ”This is the eighth Singles Day. The data showed that it is moving into a new stage, which represents a different attitude of e-shoppers in China. They are more sophisticated and rational who require more customisation and good reason-to-buy. We always advise marketers that Singles Day should not be seen just as a retail promotion on an e-commerce platform, it is about the consumer engagement with the brand.”

STAY UP TO DATE: You want the need-to-know news, right? Our journalists deliver a daily curation of the most important industry happenings. Sound good? Join WGSN.

Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.