Black Friday versus Singles’ Day!





Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, Halloween, these celebrations create sales peaks around the world. Naively, we might say these peaks are simply due to the celebrations themselves, but let’s face it; there is a well-developed marketing strategy behind each and every one, and we are not just saying this because we are a marketing consultancy firm.

Little known in Europe until a few years ago, Black Friday has been huge in the United States for decades. The famous day falls the Friday after Thanksgiving, when North Americans are on vacation and have time to shop, and when the Christmas season officially launches. The real motivation for Black Friday was to counter typically slow sales at that time of year, causing business owners and companies to reduce prices to boost sales.

With Halloween, Valentine’s Day and many others, Americans were way ahead of Europe and Asia when it came to capitalizing on these commercial booms. And by a long shot, predating the creation of Amazon or Alibaba. Now China has its own annual black Friday on 11 November: Singles’ Day. The event celebrates being single, and the date 11/11 (11 November) was chosen because it consists of four "1s," representing four singles. Last year companies made no less than USD 25.3 billion in sales on that day, with the New York Times describing it as the “frenzied annual celebration of consumption and commerce that is China’s much larger version of Black Friday.”  

And the e-commerce era was born


All these celebrations existed way before e-commerce was created, so for once it can’t be blamed. According to The Economist, shoppers will spend record amounts of money during the upcoming Singles day (11 November 2018) and Black Friday (24 November 2018).

Leaders in their fields, Amazon (part of the G.A.F.A ) and Alibaba (part of the B.A.T) will again be the protagonists of these D-Days. All of them in their own way will be looking to exploit these commercial opportunities with incredible promotions. It’s a battle to see who will secure the highest sales’ numbers, no matter what. The below graph from Forbes speaks for itself, comparing the total retail sales in billions of dollars between Singles’ Day, created recently in 2009, and Black Friday. They have also included Cyber Monday, another top selling booster.



Mobile on the rise


We often think that everything is driven by mobile now, but this hasn’t always been the case, even if the evolution has been really fast. In 2013, only 21% of Singles' Day sales came from mobile devices. That percentage point grew to 42.6% in 2014, 68% in 2015, 82% in 2016, and 90% in 2017, during a four-year period where total sales revenue tripled.

Even if trust to add credit cards and provide personal information online for shopping has been increasing over the last decade, the latest  Global Survey on internet security and trust reveals that 50% of people around the world are more concerned about their privacy than a year ago.

All considerations apart, online shopping remains a key sales driver, but brick and mortar is still in the equation. Even though e-commerce is growing and commercial opportunities to get the best deal are multiplying, customers still expect to be able to visit physical stores.


The era of Amazon and Alibaba is just beginning!


In a future article we will go behind the scenes of e-commerce for luxury goods, as well as the growing presence of Artificial Intelligence in this market.

Research:
The earliest evidence of the phrase Black Friday applied to the day after Thanksgiving in a shopping context suggests that the term originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.


A The Consultancy Group article, written by Anthony Schaub 

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