Record sales for China’s Double 11 shopping festival

Tuesday 17th December 2019

Article written by: Yan Wang

On 11 November 2019, the annual Singles’ Day event, also known as the “Double 11” shopping festival, achieved record sales of 268.4 billion yuan (about NZ$58.13 billion). This represented a 26% increase on sales figures for the previous year.

The online shopping day started in China in 2009 by e-commerce giant Alibaba, originating as an anti-Valentine’s Day protest.  In the past decade, the “Double 11” shopping festival has evolved into being the biggest global e-commerce festival. The 24 hour shopping event generates more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the United States combined.

Participating Brands

More than 200,000 brands participated in this year’s shopping fest, including over 22,000 brands from 78 countries outside of China. During the event, 299 brands surpassed 100 million yuan (about NZ$21.66 million) each in gross merchandise value. International orders made up a big portion of sales this year. The top ten countries selling to Chinese consumers were Japan, the United States, Korea, Australia, Germany, France, UK, New Zealand, Italy and Canada. As usual, electronics, fashion, cosmetics and beauty items were the best-sellers.

What it means to brand owners

According to Forbes  magazine, Singles’ Day can be the culmination of a number of foreign brands’ yearly Chinese activities. Companies can spend six to eight months planning their Singles’ Day activities, and this one day alone can account for 25% of their annual sales revenue.

Foreign brand owners can launch a store on cross-border platforms such as Tmall Global (which is owned by Alibaba Group). The open business-to-consumer platform enables brands to be present in the Chinese market. To start selling on Tmall Global,  the seller must prove that it owns the trade mark or has a licence from the brand owner. For flagship marketplaces, it is mandatory to have a trade mark registration in class 35 (covering retail services).

As the market for international brands grows, it becomes increasingly important to register your trade mark in China. We recommend that you give some thought to doing that now so that you can be ready for next years Singles’ Day.

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