Singles’ Day – Insights For 2024
US sell outs were +35% YoY, while British consumers shopped more conservatively. Uncover the essential insights from this Singles’ Day for future planning.
Lessons From 2023
- Competitive discounts were spearheaded by Alibaba, offering 80 million products at their cheapest price all year. Capitalizing on the mega sale without sacrificing margins, Western retailers opted to discount a high proportion of assortments instead of slashing prices deeper than last year, with 58% and 51% of ranges on sale in the US and UK.
- British consumers favored reductions between 20%-30% off and shopped more conservatively causing Singles’ Day sell outs to fall by 25% YoY. US customers were bargain hunting, generating +35% sell outs YoY and over half of sales falling between 50%-70% off.
- Accessories equaled 40% of products discounted above 60% off in the US as retailers provided cost-conscious shoppers value for gifting items. UK retailers targeted tops and dresses for heavy reductions, but avoided discounting sleepwear and underwear at these high levels.
- Playing into the Cyber Month narrative, retailers kicked off Singles’ Day discount communications on November 1st, a week earlier than 2022, and combined the event with Black Friday deals. Attractive offers of up to 50% and 70% off were communicated at Debenhams and Alo, while multiples of 11 continued to dominate messaging.
How the Event Fared in China
Despite concerns about China’s economic slowdown, Singles’ Day defied low expectations. According to Bain & Company’s survey of 3,000 consumers, 77% intended to reduce or maintain spending compared to 2022, prioritizing necessities over discretionary purchases.1China’s Singles Day 2023: Win the Head and the Heart with Value and Entertainment – Bain & Company Nevertheless, the event generated an estimated $156.40bn (+3% YoY)2China’s Singles Day festival wraps up with $156B in estimated sales, Alibaba and JD.com reporting growth amid low expectations – Fortune in sales with positive results reported by key industry leaders – JD.com noted record-breaking sales volume and Alibaba experiencing YoY growth. The latter retailer encouraged its platforms, T-mall and Taobao, to slash prices aggressively from late October at the start of the festival, offering 80 million products at their deepest discount of the year.
The Markdowns Taken
Discounts Over Time
The overall 2023 Singles’ Day discounting strategy in the US followed a similar trend to that established over the past two years. Retailers focused on discounting broadly rather than deeply to generate markdown buzz while keeping margins intact. Over half of product assortments were advertised as reduced, with average discount depths just below 50% and dropping 1-2pp from 2022 and 2021. This was employed at Nasty Gal, which contracted discount depths from 66% in 2022 to 55% while increasing the proportion of products on sale from 91% to 96%. The Children’s Place pushed more competitive deals than last year, with discount rates rising from 58% to 62%, tying with Aéropostale for the most aggressive price cuts.
UK retailers also pulled back slightly on discount depths, while discount proportions reached a two-year high of 51%. Peacocks, boohooMAN and boohoo were the key retailers driving this, with upwards of 92% of products advertised for sale. Burton notably switched up its strategy to favor a more conservative approach. Last year, 100% of styles were on sale, averaging 56%, while this year it was 68% of products sitting at 33%.
|Year||US Avg Disc. Proportion||US Avg Disc. Depth||UK Avg Disc. Proportion||UK Avg Disc. Depth|
The Successful Discounts
As US customers braced for a financially challenging holiday season, Singles’ Day provided some economic relief, with the number of products selling out of majority SKUs on the day +31% YoY. Items marked down between 50%-70% off accounted for over half of sell outs as shoppers snapped up bargains on kidswear and sleepwear.
Sell outs in the UK downtrended by 25% YoY, suggesting British consumers were more cautious with spending. Though the bulk of discounts fell between 30%-40% off, shoppers gravitated toward the 20%-30% mark. This bracket accounted for 32% of sell outs on Singles’ Day, driven by demand for reduced loungewear, sleepwear and knitwear. Reflecting the continued cost of living crisis putting pressure on households, products reduced by more than 50% accounted for 26% of sell outs, with children’s dresses and graphic tees popular purchases.
The Categories Reduced
Accessories made up nearly 40% of products targeted for discounts above 60% off as US retailers tagged on to the shopping festival to provide respite on gifting items like jewelry. Retailers prioritized shifting summer stock, with T-shirts, tank tops and sandals accounting for the bulk of their respective categories. Meanwhile, heavy winter outerwear styles were spared from the sale to move through gilets and shackets.
Differing from the US, UK retailers concentrated on clearing through tops and dresses. Midi silhouettes equaled 28% of products reduced at 60% or higher compared to maxis at 22% and minis at 16%. A greater emphasis was placed on reducing product sets in this region due to short co-ord sets marked down at boohoo and boohooMAN.
US Discounted Assortment
UK Discounted Assortment
Key Messages & Offers
Singles’ Day communications started on November 1st, a week earlier than in 2022, with retailers eager to participate in promotions to drive sales activity. Beauty brands were key players, with Lancôme being the first retailer to promote the event and Armani Beauty sending the most emails (eight). Classic red sales banners were blended with pink backdrops and love heart motifs, as seen at ASOS, Crocs and Monki. Messaging and discount codes were worked around “treating yourself.” Multiples of 11 remained the standout offer for percentages and price points, while retailers tagged onto Black Friday communications for attractive discounts of up to 50% or 70% off. The major categories promoted included dresses, noted with 20% off at Vero Moda and 40% off at NA-KD, slotting into partywear and going-out narratives.
Multiples of 11%
Up to 50% Off
Up to 70% Off
Spend & Save
Blazers & trousers
Products in stock Nov 11, 2023
Products selling out of majority SKUs on Nov 11, 2023 vs.2022
Avg Disc. Proportion = Average Discount Proportion / Avg Disc. Depth = Average Discount Depth
Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor, Aéropostale, Bershka, Boohoo, BoohooMAN, Burton, Gap, H&M, Hush, J.Crew, JCPenney, Janie and Jack, John Lewis & Partners, Loft, Mango, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Monki, NA-KD, Nasty Gal, Old Navy, Peacocks, Reserved, River Island, The Children’s Place, Tu at Sainsbury’s, Very, Zara, Zumiez