Innovative Marketing Campaigns and Payment Methods Pay Off on 2015 Singles' Day, as China Leads in E-Commerce Maturity Around the World

Nov 23, 2015, 08:45 ET from AdMaster

BEIJING, Nov. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Alibaba retains top spot, with growing competition from; international e-retailers did not play a key part
  • Constant innovations pay off, China leads global e-commerce momentum
  • For the first time ever, mobile devices contributed more sales than PCs on China's Singles' Day

Many American brands claimed that they withdrew from Black Friday sales this year because they didn't want to use promotions to spoil consumers. Ironically thoughit was US brands on the whole that topped Alibaba's cross-border transaction list in this year's Singles' Day cyber-spending fiesta.

In 2014, China's Singles' Day sales on Alibaba's Tmall platform alone had already eclipsed the total sum of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Since Alibaba started the annual online Singles' Day sales (which falls on November 11) in 2009, the growth of the event has coincided with China's explosive e-commerce growth over the past seven years. Today, the fierce competition drives brands and retailers to introduce innovative marketing campaigns and payment solutions to encourage consumers to spend more and more online, according to a most recent mobile survey by AdMaster on Nov 12 and 13.

The survey shows that 82% of 1,545 respondents took part in the Singles' Day shopping event, one-percentage-point lower than 2014; and 80% of them said they would take part again next year.

The average spending in Singles' Day reached 1,577 yuan (US$ 247) this year, an increase of 17% compared to 2014 (1,348 yuan, or US$ 211).

Singles' Day is No Longer the Carnival of Alibaba, but a battlefield to win the hearts and minds of today's Chinese Consumer: They are connected, with strong willingness to spend

Despite the slowing-down of China's GDP growth, it came as no surprise that the sales on Singles' Day this year for Alibaba hit a new high of 9.12 billion yuan (US$ 1.43 billion) on its Tmall e-commerce site alone, a 60% growth compared with 2014. 

AdMaster's survey finds that Singles' Day has turned into a battlefield of local Chinese e-commerce players, while Alibaba and continues to sweep online retail purchases. International players like and Wal-Mart e-commerce platform (Yihaodian) however, played a minimal role in the event.

Throughout the Singles' Day event, both Alibaba and worked hard to win Chinese online shoppers. According to AdMaster, 50% of the respondents tuned in to Alibaba's 4-hour-long televised gala on Hunan TV leading up to the start of the online shopping binge, during which online shoppers could interact with the show through their smartphone for coupons that can be used on Singles' Day. In a similar practice,, together with one of China's most viewed reality talent TV shows, Voice of China, also broadcasted its Double 11 Party on CCTV  (China's national TV station) half an hour ahead of its big rival, and around 17% of the respondents watched the show.

Taobao (70%) and Tmall (68%) maintained its leading position as the most-visited e-commerce platforms in this year's Single's Day, followed by (33%). But the average amount of money spent by Chinese e-shoppers on, which used to focus on 3C products and electrical appliances, was 2,175 yuan (US$ 341), 32% higher than 1,643 yuan/per capita (US$ 258) on Tmall.

"Alibaba, because of its history with the event, maintained its leadership and momentum, but and other key e-commerce platforms are also making a great deal of efforts to leverage the festival. The competition and dynamics between Alibaba and and other e-commerce players are important for a healthier development of China's e-commerce market in the long run," said Maggie Wang, Vice President, Commercial Strategy, AdMaster.

The rapid development of Internet financing gives births to innovative payment methods - It's a smooth, simple and convenient shopping experience that counts the most

Riding on the trend of China's rapid development in Internet financing, a variety of innovative payment methods were applied in this year's Singles' Day. According to AdMaster, nearly two fifths of Chinese e-shoppers (38%) chose online credit payment services for their favorite products on Singles' Day this year, and their average spending was US$156 higher than those who didn't use them. Among those who used credit payment, more than half of them (52%) preferred to pay by installments.

Forty five percent of the e-shoppers used pre-order for Singles' Day this year, 16 percentage points higher than 2014, when Tmall first launched the pre-order, a purchase method that allows consumers pay a deposit to secure products in advance. Among these 45% of e-shoppers, the deals made through pre-order accounted for around one fourth of their total spending on average (24%) on Singles' Day. As an innovative payment method, the pre-order frees consumers from staying up late to fight for the limited bargain and gives sellers time to prepare and deliver products.

"The development of Internet financing and all these innovative payment methods makes it possible for a smooth, simple and convenient online shopping experience, and make e-commerce a really powerful and solid sales channel," said Wang.

For the first time ever, mobile devices contributed more sales than PCs

According to Alibaba, mobile purchases in this year's Singles' Day reached 62.6 billion yuan (US$9.8billion), accounting for as much as 69% of total transactions, verses 43% in 2014. It means for the first time ever the sales contributed by mobile devices surpassed those from PCs.

AdMaster's survey shows that within the 24-hour promotion, 81% of the respondents chose smartphones as their most used device for their online shopping, a five-percentage-point growth compared with 2014, while the preference for PCs slumped from 69% in 2014 to 42% this year. Furthermore, for those who used smartphones to shop, 65% completed their whole online shopping journey from product selection to payment on smartphone.

Over the past six years, China's Singles' Day has evolved into a competition of technologies and innovations whereas it used to be a competition of pricing and logistics in the previous years. Brands and e-retailers have been very innovative to leverage on the mileage of the festival. It is important for brands to bear in mind that Singles' Day is not just a day of sales, but a day of full customer interaction and experience with the consumers. It is critical for brands to maximize the opportunity to build closer bonding with the brands through cross-platforms and the whole consumer journey. While brands of American markets announced withdrawal from their Black Friday, what is the implication and learning for brands in China?" Wang pointed out.

Data source: AdMaster Mobile Survey, November 13-15, 2015 n=1545, aged between 16-65

Contact: Phoebe Lam
Phone: +86 138 1781 9382

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