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Top 5 Chinese Online Consumer Trends After Single’s Day Sales

The world’s biggest online sale of the year, China’s Single’s Day, took place on November 11. What’s on Weibo gives an overview of the latest trends and biggest brands, showing how China’s middle-class online consumer habits are undergoing drastic changes.

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The world’s biggest online sale of the year, China’s Single’s Day, took place on November 11. Some Chinese consumer trends have become especially visible after the big sales. What’s on Weibo gives an overview of the latest trends and biggest brands, showing how China’s middle-class online consumer habits are undergoing drastic changes. [Premium Content by What’s on Weibo].

China’s 11/11 Single’s Day, the world’s biggest online shopping event of the year, has once again exceeded the sale figures of previous years.

The 8th edition of China’s Online Single’s Day Shopping Festival, that was initiated by e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2009, broke all previous sales records with a 24-hour sales volume of $17.6 billion (120.7 billion RMB) on Alibaba’s Tmall (天猫) on November 11. Online shopping mall JD.com also had 60% more sales than the previous year.

With so much success, many e-commerce platforms have extended the shopping festival until November 18. Time to see which Chinese online consumer trends are especially apparent during this year’s Single Day’s sales.

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1. Smartphone & Tablets: Made-in-China Wins

Together with fashion and health and beauty products, electronics are among the top-selling products of China’s biggest annual online sale. This year’s Single’s Day has shown that the iPhone7 is still very popular among Chinese consumers, despite the subdued reactions in China to its release in September.

The Gome e-commerce chain (国美在线) revealed that the iPhone7, which was priced at 4888 RMB (±719 US$), was the store’s number one best-seller of November 11. Gome sold 22000 devices within 24 hours.

Despite the surge in iPhone sales, made-in-China smartphones were the undeniable winner of the Single’s Day smartphone sales. Overall, netizens bought more Chinese smartphone brands than international ones. According to the Single’s Day sales numbers of JD.com, no less than 8 of the top 10 best-selling smartphones were domestically produced mobile phones. China’s Huawei and Xiaomi brands did especially well on Alibaba’s Tmall.

huawei

The surge in sales of Chinese smartphones is also promising for the international market: Huawei aims to become the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones within two years.

The growth of Chinese brand popularity is not just noticeable on the smartphone market – Chinese brands are also winning over tablet buyers. Apple is no longer the only big player on the Chinese tablet market, with brands such as Lenovo and Huawei seeing considerable growth in tablet sales.

2. Good for the Baby 

Of the non-electronic products, it is especially baby products that did well on China’s Single’s Day. Anything from milk powder to baby wipes or diapers were popular during the 11/11 sales. Vastly different from the electronic market, it is especially foreign brands such as Friso (Friesland Campina, Dutch) and Moony (Japanese) that are most popular among Chinese consumers.

As China’s consumer trust in made-in-China baby brands has been damaged through various safety scandals over previous years, foreign brands are leading the market.

What is remarkable about this year’s sales, as revealed by China’s e-commerce platform Beibei (贝贝网, focused on maternal and infant products) is that the children’s clothing market is more booming than ever. Together with the surge in other baby- and mother-related products, the shift to bigger sales of these non-traditional products shows that China’s ‘Mummy Economy’ (妈妈经济) is becoming more relevant.

mummaexonomy

According to Beibei, there are over 50 million Chinese mothers registered as e-commerce users on their platform. Their data shows that there are different consumer trends within this group in China.

Mothers from the northeast of China, for example, will buy more baby’s clothes and shoes, as it gets colder in those regions than the more southern parts of China. The mothers in the Yangtze River Delta area (Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang) are known to buy many baby snacks and foodstuff. In the south of China, nearer to Hong Kong, consumers mainly buy baby necessities such as diapers and baby wipes.

3. Fashion: Individual Style over Traditional Brands

Despite the popularity of electronics and baby products, clothing and lifestyle goods are still the number one best-selling products in China’s online sales. According to sales numbers released by JD.com, 40% of all their 11/11 sales were in the apparel & lifestyle category.

Noteworthy non-Chinese brand names are Lee, TUMI and Guess, which respectively sold 43 times, 20 times, and 70 times more clothes this year than in previous years.

Although traditional international luxury brands such as Burberry and MaxMara remain popular, new sales data shows that Chinese consumers now, for the first time, pursue more non-mainstream brands for their style than the established luxury brands.

A good example is the growing popularity of the Canadian apparel brand Canada Goose, which completely sold out on Chinese fashion e-commerce site Xiu.com (走秀网) on November 11. The brand is known for its warm and stylish outerwear. Another non-mainstream popular brand is the Italian designer clothes & accessories label Mr & Mrs Italy, which was only recently introduced on fashion platform Xiu.com and became hot selling on 11/11.

canadagoose

Other upcoming trendy brands such as the Scandinavian Acne Studios and & Other Stories (by the same fashion heads as H&M) were also surprising best-selling names that are all about style.

Acne Studios: style over brand.

With Chinese middle-class consumers now gradually attaching more importance to style, originality, and quality of a label than its fame, somewhat more low-key designer brands like Brunello Cucinelli or Loro Piana are starting to replace classic Louis Vuitton or Burberry brands.

According to Xiu.com representatives, these new developments show that China’s middle-class consumer habits are now undergoing dramatic changes. People are no longer pursuing a bag only because it has an LV logo – they want a bag that suits their own style and needs.

4. China’s New Online Consumers: The Rise of Smaller Towns

Although first- and second-tier cities are still the most important consumer markets for online e-commerce platforms, this year’s sales data point out that consumers in third-tier cities and provincial level towns are becoming an important target group.

E-commerce giant JD.com saw a substantial growth in orders from prefectural cities and smaller towns from provinces such as Guizhou, Jiangxi, Hubei, Henan, and Yunnan.

In 2011, “the rise of China’s 2nd and 3rd tier cities” was a hot topic in the media. Five years later, this trend has shifted to China’s rural areas, where the new consumers are located.

nongcun

Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that 77.14 million rural Chinese shopped online in 2015, which was already a 40.6 percent increase from 2014. On average, rural Chinese spend more online than their urban counterparts, and their online spending is growing faster.

According to Economics Daily, drastic increases in sales to consumers from smaller towns and villages shows the improving living standards in these areas. High-end products like refrigerators and air-conditionings are among their top-selling products for this consumer group.

The rise of China’s more third-tier and rural consumers is closely connected to China’s booming and readily available e-commerce, that has made rural consumer demand strong. With China’s online population now exceeding 700 million people, China’s rural netizens are growing steadily – that new tablet or heater is now just a few clicks away.

5. The Power of the Post-1990s Generation

The sales data from this year’s Single’s Day as provided by the Gome (国美) e-commerce platform have pointed out that the majority of orders (which had a staggering growth of 268% compared to last year) were placed by consumers below the age of 40. Of all online customers on Single’s Day, 85% were below the age of 40.

Within this group, 47% of people are of the 16-29 age category and 34% aged between 30-39. Young women are more active online consumers than the men; 67% of all purchases were done by women.

post90s

The Gome data shows the power of the post-1990s consumer. People of the generation born after 1990, often referred to as the ‘Post 90s’ or ‘jiulinghou‘ (九零后) are also called “marketers’ dream consumers” for their impulsiveness in buying goods, and their general pursuit of products that improve their happiness; they are the ultimate consumers, much more willing to spend money than the generations before them.

With a new young generation of eager online consumers, the rise of rural e-shoppers and a thriving ‘mummy economy’, China’s e-commerce companies having something to look forward to for their next year’s Single’s Day. The biggest online shopping event in the world is only about to get bigger.

– By Manya Koetse
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Sources:
Part of this article on based on the 14 November article by Zhao Chenting (赵陈婷) originally published on http://www.yicai.com/..
Other sources are linked to within the article.

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Digital

Uh Oh, IP: Chinese Social Media Platforms Now Display Users’ Geolocation

From Weibo to Zhihu, Chinese social media platforms now display netizens’ geolocation to ensure a ‘healthy online environment.’

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Over the past few days, Chinese social media platforms have started to introduce a new function that displays the IP location of online commenters.

Weibo was the first platform to introduce the function on Thursday – the topic also became top trending on April 28 – and social media platforms Douyin, Toutiao, Xiaohongshu and others followed later. Zhihu announced the measure on April 30 (#知乎宣布全面上线显示用户IP属地#).

Weibo has experimented with the function since March 22 of this year before completely rolling it out on April 28. Whenever users post a reply or comment to a thread, their Internet Protocol (IP) address location will be displayed underneath their comment, right next to the post date and time information. The location will also be displayed on the personal account page of Weibo users.

According to Sina Weibo, the function was introduced to ensure a “healthy and orderly discussion atmosphere” on the platform and to reduce the spread of fake news and invidious rumors by people pretending to be part of an issue or city that they are actually not part of. To keep online discussions “authentic and transparent,” social media users’ specific region, city, province, or country will show up below their names. The function can not be turned off by users.

‘Refuting rumors’ is a priority for Weibo management and has only become more relevant during the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in China and the recent Shanghai outbreak.

On Saturday, the hashtag “What Does It Mean That Platforms Are Unrolling the IP Function?” (#平台开放IP属地功能意味着什么#) was trending on Weibo, attracting over 170 million views.

The new measure has attracted mixed reactions on Chinese social media, where some users think it is useful that you can now discern users located abroad from those who are based in China, making it easier to draw conclusions on what is really going on in society (you can now spot trends that are particularly taking place within one region) and what is merely taking place in cyberspace.

But there are many users who think the new function is just another layer of control and does not really help to combat fake news or malicious rumors, since the IP location could actually still be changed.

Although the entire idea of displaying the IP location is to minimize the gap between cyberspace and reality based on one’s location, the location is merely the geographic location of the internet from the connected device and does not always correspond with the actual location of the social media user.

Once a person is connected to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), for example, internet traffic is sent through a server in another location, and the IP address will be replaced by the IP address of the VPN server in a different location from people’s actual address.

Some Weibo account are also not run by the persons themselves but by a social media or marketing company.

In this way, Bill Gates unexpectedly turned out to be located in Henan province, and Lionel Messi’s location showed up as Shanghai.

Others think that the new rule will only lead to more online polarization and self-censorship: “Who made this unsettling decision?! From now on, Chinese nationals who are studying or living abroad will be extra extra careful in what they write, otherwise, they’ll be labeled as ‘foreign forces.'”

Some people joked about the new function revealing their location, writing: “It made me so embarrassed. I’m pretending to be studying in the UK, while I’m actually in the mountains feeding the pigs.” Others were also surprised that their IP location was completely different from the place where they are actually living: “Weibo, what are you doing? I’ve never even been to Jilin,” one commenter wrote.

According to an online poll held by Fengmian News, 56% of the participants (nearly 300,000 at time of writing) said they supported the new function. 21% did not like the function, 17% said they did not care, and 6% were just curious to see their own IP location and if it matches their actual location.

“I’m gonna go and delete my more extreme comments,” one person wrote: “I don’t wanna give my hometown a bad reputation.”

Global Times commentator Hu Xijin (胡锡进) also gave his views on the new measure, saying that people’s viewpoints and values will always be more important than where they come from, and that all friends of China matter, no matter where they are based. However, he argued, it is also good to know where those who openly express anti-Chinese sentiments come from, exposing those ‘evil foreign force’ who are trying to disrupt social cohesion within the country.

Noteworthy enough, Hu Xijin’s own IP location was not displayed on his Weibo account, as some celebrities seem to have been excluded from this measure or can decide themselves whether or not they would like to display their IP location or not.

One Weibo user wrote: “Twitter can follow its own regulations in banning Trump, while Weibo can transcend its own regulations and not show Hu Xijin’s IP location.”

For recent articles Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check here.

By Manya Koetse

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©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China and Covid19

‘Voices of April’: The Day After

“The best way to make videos go viral is by censoring them.”

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On April 23, a day after the video ‘Voices of April’ briefly took over social media before it was censored, the trending topic of the day is a hashtag related to new Covid cases reported in Shanghai.

Shanghai reported higher Covid-19 cases and deaths on Friday than the five days prior, which showed a daily decline in new cases. Shanghai reported a total of 23,370 new cases (including 20,634 asymptomatic ones), the municipal health commission said Saturday. A related hashtag by Xinhua News received over 910 million views on Weibo on Saturday (#上海新增本土确诊2736例无症状20634例#).

Although the hashtag was initiated by state media to inform about the Shanghai Covid situation, netizens started using it to criticize Shanghai’s handling of the crisis, with more commenters questioning China’s zero-Covid strategy. Similarly, other state media-initiated hashtag places also became online spaces where Weibo users vented their frustrations earlier this month.

Besides the ongoing online criticism and vocal disagreement with China’s Covid handling and policies, there are also many who express shock at the recent crackdown of any form of protest or criticism regarding the situation in Shanghai.

“‘Voices of April’ has been shutdown all over the internet, I’m simply dumbfounded,” one person said about the popular video that contained real recordings of events that happened during the city’s lockdown.

“If you still can find the video anywhere, forward it,” another person writes.

Besides Voices of April (四月之声), there have also been other videos over the past week that are meant to expose the mishandling of the Covid situation in Shanghai.

One of them is titled Farewell, Language (再见语言), another one is Shanghai Late Spring (上海晚春).

Farewell, Language (再见语言) is a 42-second sound art video by artist Yang Xiao (杨潇), who used over 600 commonly used propaganda phrases from Chinese official channels and randomly broadcasted the audio in the community where he lives.

The anti-epidemic workers just continue their work and do not seem to notice anything out of the ordinary at all. The video shows how this kind of language has been so normalized that for most, it has just become background noise in their everyday life – without even noticing nor critically assessing its meaning or logic anymore.

The Shanghai Late Spring (上海晚春) video is a compilation of video footage from the Shanghai lockdown, showing people struggling to get food, violent altercations between anti-epidemic workers and residents, people living in deplorable conditions in quarantine centers, and more (link to video).

The video uses the song Cheer Up London by Slaves, its chorus being:

You’re dead, already, dead, dead, already-ready
Dead, already, dead, dead, already-ready
Dead, already, dead, dead, already-ready
Dead, already, dead
.”

One Weibo commenter responded to the video in English, using a text from Les Misérables: “Do you hear the people sing / Singing the song of angry men / It is the music of a people / Who will not be slaves again!” The phrase “do you hear the people sing” was also used by other social media users to address the situation in Shanghai and the censorship of related topics.

“The best way to make videos go viral is by censoring them,” one commenter replied.

Read our previous article about ‘Voices of April’ here.

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check here.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions by Miranda Barnes

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles:

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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