- According to a survey by Bain and Company, most Chinese consumers plan to limit their spending during this year’s shopping festival, Singles’ Day.
- Enthusiasm has waned, and nearly half of consumers surveyed this year also said they were turning to cheaper brands or own-brand products, according to the Bain study.
- This year, “we expect there will probably be more stocks of consumer goods”, said James Yang, partner at Bain, in a telephone interview.
BEIJING – Most Chinese consumers plan to limit their spending during this year’s shopping festival, Singles’ Day, which ends on November 11.
This is according to a survey of over 3,000 consumers in the country, conducted by Bain and Company and published on Tuesday.
Originally launched by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba
Singles’ Day has evolved from a one-day shopping festival to a multi-week period of shopping promotions on various online platforms in China.
Enthusiasm has waned, and nearly half of consumers surveyed this year also said they were turning to cheaper brands or private-label products, according to the Bain study. Private label products tend to be less expensive than comparable major brands.
For this year’s festival, more than three-quarters of consumers surveyed – 77% – said they had no plans to increase their spending, according to the report.
This figure is slightly higher than last year (76%) and significantly higher than in 2021 (49%).
Slower economic growth and concerns about future income have weighed on consumer spending in recent years.
“Look at the broader macroeconomy. Consumer sentiment remains a little lower than it was before Covid,” said Bain partner James Yang in a telephone interview.
“Consumers are more cost-conscious, asking themselves where and how they want to spend their money.
This year, “we expect consumer goods to be stocked more,” Yang added.
Keeping quiet on total numbers
Last year, Alibaba and online retail giant JD.com
refused for the first time to publish the gross value of Singles’ Day merchandise, a measure of the sector’s sales over time.
Bain estimates that, taking other platforms into account, the gross value of Singles’ Day e-commerce grew by 3% to 934 billion yuan ($128.25 billion) in 2022.
Including the additional 181 billion yuan devoted to livestreaming and content-based e-commerce, the total GMV of last year’s festival exceeded 1,000 billion yuan ($140 billion), according to the report.
By comparison, these figures for the Chinese market are still far higher than the $35.3 billion spent online by US consumers in 2022, according to Adobe Analytics, for the local equivalent: the week of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Live streaming and the publication of videos or photos on social media to sell products have taken off in China. Alibaba and JD.com offer live streaming functions. Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, has become an important platform for individuals and retailers selling to consumers via live streaming.
“The share of live streaming is expected to continue to grow,” said Bain’s Yang.
He added that different types of consumers also spend differently. High-income earners generally continue to spend, while blue-collar workers are cutting back.
“The middle class is floating in the middle,” he said. “People are more cautious in their purchases.