Featured Nov 12, 2019 3 min read

How essential is promoting Singles Day outside of China?

US and UK retailers are competing for a sliver of the $38.4B profits Singles Day made this year. So we rounded up how the event fared and key takeaways for 2020.

singles day

Alibaba's Singles Day sold $38.4 billion worth of goods, maintaining its status as the biggest shopping day on the planet. Outside of the Chinese e-comm giant, mass retailers in the US & UK are competing for a slice of the pie. We round up how Singles Day fared as well as key takeaways for 2020.

Want to measure the promotions your competitors took on Singles Day? Reach out for a demo to see EDITED’s discounting tools in action.

3 Lessons learned in 2019

  1. Singles Day is getting bigger outside of China: products first discounted the week of the event are up 9% in the US and 86% in the UK. The US market focused on streamlining its discounting, giving equal distribution to key promotional brackets. The UK is playing catch up to the US and are discounting wider rather than deeper.
  2. Promotions are starting earlier and lasting longer: Furla was the first retailer to mention Singles Day on the 1st of Nov. Retailers such as Scotch & Soda and Opening Ceremony promoted pre-sale offers to generate hype for the event while Uniqlo ran a four day offer. The Modist started promoting a 40% off deal in the lead up, which deepened to 60% off on the 11th.
  3. Multiples of 11 were favored in promotions: 11%, 22% and 33% were one of the strongest messages among customer communications. Additionally, retailers continued to use this opportunity to celebrate Girl Power and self love with messages such as 'Miss Independent' and 'Treat Yourself'.

Insight into US market data

Retailers increased the number of products that received their first discount on the week of Singles Day by 9% YoY. On the day of the event, 53% of products in the US mass market were reduced, a slight uptick on the 52% discounted in 2018. The distribution of discounts became more streamlined YoY. In 2018, 40-50% was the favored discount range, making up 24% of total Singles Day reductions. This year, equal weighting was given to the 20-30% and 50-60% off brackets, while the number of products reduced at 30-40% and 40-50% evened out.

The category discounted the deepest for menswear was tops, which made up 35% of product reduced by 60% or deeper. For womenswear, tops only equaled 19% of reductions over 60% off as accessories were hit the hardest. The retailers stocking the most products reduced by 60% or higher were Kohl's, Macy's and ASOS.

Nasty Gal has participated in the event over the past few years. In 2018, 24% of products were advertised with a discount on the day. This year, everything online was reduced, with the 60-70% bracket as the most favored, in line with the communicated offer of 60% off. Club Monaco promoted 11% off with a code. However, the majority of product reduced online was deeper at 20-30% off.

singles day

Operating in the UK? Log in to read the full market report which includes key promotional messages for Singles Day. 

What’s in store for 2020?

Singles Day will continue to be important for mass retailers outside of China, particularly in the UK who are growing their discounting assortment to mirror the US. Plan for pre and post promotions, like Black Friday, discounting is not just limited to the actual day of sales. November is evolving into a discount-laden month, and customers will be resistant to pay full price. Ensure your best selling products are out of the firing line for deep discounts to preserve margins, and use this event to move slow stock or generate interest for festive gifting. 

And, of course, look to data to help plan an airtight discounting strategy. Talk to your dedicated EDITED Retail Strategist today and get an edge on the competition.