6 new trends during this year's Singles' Day

Singles' Day has become one of the biggest days in the online shopping calendar and this year's sales are expected to be bigger than ever - more than RMB 48.6 billion of gross merchandise volume (GMV) was settled through Alipay on Alibaba’s China and international retail marketplaces within the first two hours of the 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

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Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group, said that Chinese consumers have purchased more in the first hour of 11.11 this year than the entire 24 hours in 2013.

"This unprecedented level of engagement demonstrates both the consumption power of Chinese consumers and their embrace of online shopping as a lifestyle," Zhang said.

But are consumers shifting the way they shop in 11.11? According to the latest research released by YouGov, which polled 1259 netizens from 1st to 4th November 2016, few new trends have emerged in the market.

1. Repeat customers are the majority

82% of netizens polled this year are planning to shop on 11.11, just 1% down from last year, showing Singles’ Day is still hot and popular in China. Among those intended shoppers, there’s a higher percentage (92%) of repeated Singles' Day shoppers than last year (89%).

2. Alipay remains popular, but WeChat Wallet is gaining ground

Alipay continues to be the most popular payment method, with 85% of consumers intending to pay for items online this way. This was also the case last year, with 81% opting for Alipay.

The number of people intending to pay with WeChat Wallet has leaped up from 15% to 27% in the past year, making it the second most popular payment method, pushing online credit card payments and account credit of retail platform into third place.

3. TaoBao overtakes Tmall

Looking at the top 5 online retailers where respondents intent to purchase most items from on Singles’ Day, Taobao (88%) overtakes Tmall (87%) and becomes this year’s top online retailer. JD.COM (74%) and Suning (45%) remain at the third and fourth place this year, while VIP.com (44%) makes into the top 5 this year beating Amazon.

4. Apps are the new websites

40% of people intend to shop through apps, outnumbering the 37% that intend to purchase their products through websites. This marks a different trend from last year, where the majority of shoppers (52%) opted for websites, with 28% planning on shopping via apps.

The number of those shopping on their smartphones remains similar to last year (62% in 2016, 61% in 2015) yet shoppers’ use of other platforms has declined across all other platforms over the past year: that of laptops decreased from 46% to 10%, desktop shoppers decreased from 43% to 24%, and tablet shoppers decreased from 15% to 4%.

According to the Alibaba group, mobile GMV settled through Alipay has accounted for 84% of the total GMV so far.

5. Women look to spruce up their wardrobes, men look to digital products

Apparel, accessories, shoes and bags continue to be the most popular items for consumers to shop for on Singles’ Day, with 64% of people polled intending to shop within this category. Women (72%) are more likely than men (57%) to be browsing for apparel and accessories.

Other popular categories that women intend to purchase this year include: snacks, bakery and confectionary products (52%), cosmetics and skincare products (49%), personal care products (42%), and household care products (29%).

In contrast, the products that the most men are intending to buy include: snacks, bakery and confectionary products (46%), personal care products (36%), computer, digital products and games (35%), and household appliances and furniture (31%).

6. Customers compare prices before purchasing

YouGov stated that price comparison is the most important factor in deciding which retailer to use, with 52% of people citing this as the reason for comparing products across platforms.

S.F. express remains the most popular courier in China.

Also, In-app and social media advertising continues to be the most popular way for consumers to hear about 11-11 this year, with 50% and 44% of consumers noting that they had heard about Singles’ Day through these means.

Spending trends also differ by age. Younger consumers are intending to spend less, with 75% of 18-24 years intending to spend under ¥1000. 35-44 years are planning to spend big, with 25% of those within this categories intending to spend over ¥3000.