Marketing Strategy

Double 11 Now a Bigger Deal for Marketers Worldwide

We talked about how crazy the Double 11 shopping war already started in China a couple weeks ago. Now that the big day has just past, we will look at how it went this year and how brands have leveraged this powerful event to market to the Chinese consumers.

According to Reuters,  Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba recorded 540.3 billion yuan ($84.54) billion in orders, or “gross merchandise value” (GMV), over its 11-day Singles’ Day sales event this year, marking a roughly 8.5% increase from the previous year. Alibaba turned China’s Singles’ Day into a shopping event in 2009 and built it into the world’s biggest online sales fest, surpassing Cyber Monday in the United States.

Rival reported 349.1 billion yuan ($54.6 billion) in transactions this year, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 11, about a 28% increase compared to 32% growth in 2020

Singles’ Day, also popularly referred to as Double 11, is an unofficial shopping season and holiday that marks a celebration for single individuals. This day although originated in China, has recently become more popular worldwide. What is interesting is that people choose the 11th of November (11/11) to celebrate this Chinese festival for singles since the “1” number resembles a bare stick.

The annual sales event started off with only 27 Tmall merchants a decade ago and will now have more than 290,000 brands participating and offer more than 14 million deals to consumers in China. Brands participating cover multiple categories and include many luxuries fashion brands, including Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin and more. Hermès and Saint Laurent participated this year for the first time.

This year, Alibaba was spotlighting an energy-efficient and low-impact product section to further encourage eco-friendly lifestyles. In times of uncertainty, consumers now become more cost-conscious. But broad discounts and promotions have translated into record sales during Single’s Day as expected.

Double 11 Night Gala — warm-up for the shopping rush

The Double 11 Night Gala is a big variety show on the eve of Singles’ Day every year. The event has turned into a global attention. The tactic is to keep shoppers engaged, awake, and ready to buy as soon as the clock strikes midnight. Customers can watch the live show through TV or video websites to participate in the interactive promotions. The prizes include lucky money, shopping coupons, or using only one penny (yuan) to buy a commodity.

The program usually includes local and international celebrities’ appearances. Superstars appeared before included everyone from Jacky Chan, Kobe Bryant to Taylor Swift. Benedict Cumberbatch, who appeared remotely over a video link this year, is the latest Hollywood star featured in the gala.

Benedict Cumberbatch appeared on the Double 11 Night Gala this year.

Luxury brands joined hands with Tmall in entering the metaverse

This year, Tmall launched a ‘Double 11 Metaverse Art Exhibition’ (元宇宙艺术展) within its mobile app, presented by meta-human virtual idol Ajayi. The avatar is a digitalized person who has an appearance comparable to a real human. With Chinese consumers increasing interest to engage with innovative technologies and flawless virtual idols, Ayayi has already amassed near 114,000 followers and attracted the attention of top luxury brands including Guerlain.

The exhibition acts as a campaign leading up to the Double 11 event, showing eight limited collections from varied brands in the form of NFTs, with British luxury label Burberry being a part of it. The NFTs are sold at affordable price points removing the barriers of entry to improve consumer acceptance and participation of the new digital art form.

Burberry unveiled a 3D animation of its deer mascot. Users can interact with the digital piece, clicking into the museum gallery to view the deer donning a Burberry scarf. As per the gallery’s description, the design concept of the NFT came from Ayayi’s friendship with Burberry’s deer, who plays the part of being her fashion advisor.

Virtual idol Ayayi presenting Burberry’s NFT deer with their physical limited-edition scarf as part of Tmall's Metaverse Art Exhibition.

The NFTs — called “digital collectibles” in China — are usually packaged along with a physical item, with the digital offering being a limited-edition item. The Singles’ Day NFT offerings were slated to run from October 20 to November 11, but lots of them sold out days before the event.

Despite Double 11 often featuring steep discounts and exclusive offers, it has not deterred the participation of global luxury brands looking to take part in the lucrative event. It was estimated that over 100,000 new luxury products would be launched from brands like Cartier, Givenchy, Bvlgari, and Dior. In addition, Tmall has also confirmed the participation of luxury giants LVMH, Chanel and Hermès.

Burberry, Coach and Longines are among several brands that have released NFTs to cash in on the Singles’ Day shopping festival. The growing competition amongst luxury brands has sparked a new wave of creative and exclusive Double 11 offers, designed to encourage consumers to shop without damaging brand image through discounts.

Double 11 has created valuable marketing opportunity in North America

Singles’ Day has been viewed as one of the largest Chinese digital marketing events of the year not only within China but for marketers worldwide, especially in North America. Chinese in North America is an immensely powerful ethnic market which contributes to a total of $161 billion in annual consumer spending.

Brands in Canada and the United States are taking this wonderful opportunity to connect to the Chinese consumers and drive sales. The promotions targeted Chinese consumers through different Chinese digital platforms, social media like WeChat as well as email marketing.

Here are some of the brands:

Holt Renfrew

  • 22% Off & 11% off on different categories online & in-store

Jamieson Vitamins:

  • 25% Off sitewide discount for 4 days

Yves Saint Laurent:

  • 20% Off plus an exclusive gift when spend $135 or more for Nov 11 only on their online store


  • “Say Goodbye to Single’s Life” special from Nov 4 to 11 with different offers like 2GB bonus data and save $600 with iPhone 11 trade-in.
Fido used advertorials on WeChat to promote their Double 11 special offers

Eastward Media is a Chinese Digital Marketing agency which specialize in helping media planers and brands target Chinese audiences in North America through different Chinese Digital Marketing strategies like programmatic advertising, Chinese social media marketing, WeChat Account creation … etc.

Interested in learning more? Connect with us today.

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