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Flowers and dog food? Taobao and Tmall Valentine’s day fun facts

The romance economy, which in part measures the boost in consumption of relevant products before Valentine’s Day, has in recent years become a growth area in China and this year was no exception.

According to Alibaba, the volume of searches this week for “Valentine’s Day” and “gifts” on Tmall tripled from a week earlier. Companies and brands have targeted the 700 million users on Alibaba’s eCommerce platforms by rolling out a vast array of new and specially-themed offerings for Valentine’s Day. The high percentage of younger users on Tmall and Taobao helped to drive this years Valentine’s Day spending.

Here’s a selection of fun facts from Taobao and Tmall to mark this celebration in 2019:

  • Flowers are still the most popular Valentine’s Day item.  500,000 top-quality flowers from farms in Yunnan Province were sold out on Taobao’s group shopping channel, Juhuasuan, within three days. Aside from the ever-popular bunch of roses, the sales volume of tulips increased by 130% compared with the previous year, becoming the most popular flower choice for young people.
  • Valentine’s Day is not a festival exclusively for couples any more. 70% of people who were born in the 1980s bought flowers for themselves. 40% of girls who were born in 1990s bought flowers for their mothers.
  • Interestingly, Dog food ranks number nine in the 2019 Top 10 most popular products to buy. Desperate singles are jokingly called “Single Puppies” in China and dog food is conceived as a mean to offer them comfort before they find their love. The peak purchase day was 13 February and during this most popular period 3,113 tons sold out within three days. It seems that during this period, a dog can be as important as your partner.
  • Tmall premiered over 500,000 new products from 20,000 renowned brands ahead of Valentine’s Day 2019. Participating merchants included Givenchy, Jo Malone, Longines and Adidas. Brands also launched tailored products on Tmall, such as Coca Cola’s heart-shaped gift box and Givenchy’s limited edition lipstick with the word “love” on the body. There were an array of customised items available on the marketplace including clothes, shoes, jewellery, and even electronic toothbrushes.
  • More than 12 million couples have registered Taobao relative accounts, a function that was rolled out in February 2018 to allow family members to communicate within Taobao and pay for each other’s items. Users are able to give the desired gift by paying for their spouses’ wishlist items that have been saved previously in their shopping carts.
  • To engage the singles in this romantic festival, Taobao’s Internet celebrities hosted more than 5,000 live broadcasts each day on 11 to 12 February to give beauty tips and relationship advice.

On a related note, yesterday we covered the changing trends of Valentine’s habits in Hong Kong.

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