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What made Double 11 2020 break records: Sales stats and new trends

November 11th, also known as “Guang Gun Jie”, was invented at first to celebrate singles’ day, as opposed to Valentine’s Day. In order to boost sales, Alibaba turned it in to a shopping festival in 2009, in which year it earned a total revenue of 50 million RMB. From then on, each year brought more and more sales, and despite the global economic setback, Double 11 2020 was no exception.

The impact of COVID-19 on China’s economy is fading away. According to data from National Bureau of Statistics, China’s third quarter GDP has a year-on-year growth rate of 6.8%, recovering from the second quarter’s 3.2% and the first quarter’s -6.8%. As a result, there is no surprise to see that this year in 2020, gross merchandise value of 11.11 set a new record again. The overall sales from the top two platforms on the day November 11th 2020 reached 769.7 billion RMB. With the participation of 22 e-commerce platforms in China, the grand total surpassed 800 billion RMB, reached 800 million consumers, and succeeded in the delivery of 2.97 billion packages across China between November 11-16.

How each Chinese e-commerce platform performed in Double 11 2020

Undoubtedly, Tmall was the biggest winner in Double 11 2020. During the whole festival (from November 1st to 11th), Tmall’s total sales exceeded 498.2 billion RMB, a 26% growth from last year, breaking the record again and maintaining its position as the top 1 e-commerce platform. JingDong (JD) came as the second, whose total amount of orders was 271.5 billion RMB, a 32% growth from last year. Other e-commerce platforms in China, such as PinDuoDuo and Suning, also have released astonishing sales figures. According to Suning’s report, its online orders had a 75% growth during from Double 11 2019.

e-commerce platform statistics, comparing e-commerce platforms 11.11 results, designed by daxue consulting

Source: e-commerce platform statistics, comparing e-commerce platforms 11.11 results, designed by daxue consulting 

The top Double 11 2020 marketing strategies that boosted sales

Live-streaming, as one of the most popular marketing strategies in China, wins big for the sellers. E-commerce live-streaming started in 2019 and was stimulated by COVID-19 social distancing. It generated about 42 billion RMB in total sales during the Double 11 2020 shopping festival. On Taobao, approximately 300 million consumers watched live streams and generated around 8.3 billion RMB sales. During this Double 11, 33 live-streaming studios on Taobao reached a turnover of 100 million RMB. Suning also released its sales figures from live-streaming, reporting 120 million live stream viewers  and a GMV of about 800 million RMB.

Gamification is another new 11.11 marketing trend lead by Taobao. After the very popular mini game Skyscraper Building (also known as Gailou) last year, it came out with a less competitive and more collaborative Pet Cat Raising game (also known as Yangmao). Although Taobao did not reveal the actual number of sales generated by this game, it has reported that more than 500 million consumers participated in this game, almost 65% of the total participants on Taobao’s Double 11 2020.

Interestingly, in this year’s double 11 shopping festival, there is one player that went against the trends. E-commerce platform Yeation under NetEase claimed that it would step out of “the huge fight of Double 11” and would not “advocate excessive consumption and exaggerating sales figures”. It avoided any complicated form of play rules and offered only the simplest discounts. However, Yeation started its new round of promotions for 12.12, another smaller shopping festival after 11.11, and Black Friday.

Top products: Electronics

During Double 11 2020, everything from fashion and beauty products to food, education services and technology are on sale. In 2020, there were 81,923 brands and 31 million SKUs participating in total. This year, household appliances/electronics, phones/consumer electronics and clothing were the most popular categories, followed by personal care and beauty and shoes/luggage.

the winning industries of Double 11 2020

Source: Syntun, the winning industries of Double 11 2020, designed by daxue consulting

KOLs and celebs: The top live-streamers make a majority of the revenue

Live-streaming has become one of the most widespread video format and marketing tool in China. In this form of promotions, KOLs and celebrities would introduce the products and offer special discounts, while consumers could place orders during the live videos. Consequently, it is more likely to bring about impulsive buying. In almost every shopping festival, it often generates astonishing numbers of sales.

ranking of KOLs on Taobao, Viya and Li Jiaqi rank first and second

Source:, ranking of KOLs on Taobao, Viya and Li Jiaqi rank first and second

For KOLs and celebrities, the 80/20 rule, which was also called “head effect” as oppose to the “long tail effect”, is evidently significant in live-streaming in China. Most of the sales and profits are concentratively created by the several top KOLs. According to the pre-sales data on October 21st, the top 2 KOLs Viya and Li Jiaqi’s GMV (gross merchandise value) are respectively 5.32 billion RMB and 3.87 billion RMB, which are almost ten times the GMV of the third KOL Cherie.

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