Black Friday Is Thriving In China
摘要： The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is one of the most important shopping seasons in the U.S, followed by the Cyber Monday that marks the beginning of the shopping festival for Christmas. Nowadays cross-border e-commerce businesses in China have seized the sales boosting opportunities brought by the Black Friday and are coming up with more Black Friday sales promotions in hopes of introducing the idea of Black Friday to Chinese consumers.
In case you don't know, the day The day after Thanksgiving (Friday) is known as Black Friday. This is unofficially or officially the start of holiday shopping season. Almost all stores come out with Doorbuster Sales with early bird special to attract consumers to their stores. People stand in line hours before store is opened, to grab the bargain of the year. Almost every store has something that interests every one. For bargain hunters, if there is a biggest festival in a year, that would be, no doubt, the Black Friday.
“This is the most memorable day in my life. The first day since Black Friday, we have a 50% increase in new users, most of which are probably using international e-commerce platform for the very first time, and for sure, the first time they participate in Black Friday.”
Ymatou’s CEO Zeng Bibo said so for the fact that in 2013 when Ymatou first launched its Black Friday Special the platform met a major failure.
But in recent two years, policies that support international e-commerce have been launched and people’s consuming capability is enhanced, such services have started to develop at a fast speed accordingly. As a result, more and more consumers start to participate in Black Friday. On the Black Friday this year, the transaction on average on Ymatou’s platform was over 1000 RMB. Given the fact that Black Friday is full of business opportunities, other cross-border e-commerce platforms avoided the Double Eleven festival in the country and turned to this new area instead.
The day After Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is one of the most important shopping seasons in the U.S, followed by the Cyber Monday that marks the beginning of the shopping festival for Christmas.
In the U.S., red means loss while black indicates profit. That’s why this very special day on which businesses are getting great boost in sales volume now is called Black Friday.
Nowadays cross-border e-commerce businesses in China have seized the sales boosting opportunities brought by the Black Friday and are coming up with more Black Friday sales promotions in hopes of introducing the idea of Black Friday to Chinese consumers.
Business insiders and contact persons
In comparison with last year’s situation, this year more influential cross-border e-commerce platforms joined this festival and had appealing sales promotion on the very day to add up their revenue after the Double Eleven. Additionally, channels of payment had been improved for consumers’ convenience as more overseas e-commerce platforms had started to have Chinese websites and offer direct shipping service to Chinese consumers. Besides that, the participation of brands are also bring exclusive benefits to Chinese consumers.
Fengqu.com’s overseas business director Meng Jian told TMTpost that besides those two changes mentioned above, another significant change was that the number of consumers who used e-commerce platforms to shop overseas had grown greatly.
Statistics from the General Administration of Customs and the Research Center of E-commerce show the number of such consumers was 18 million and the volume had been 140 billion RMB, signifying a great jump in scale. It’s expected that the market scale of this sector would reach over a trillion RMB in 2018.
What I want to bring up here is two very interesting roles in this sector, the insiders and contacts. Fengqu.com has around 200 employees, among which there are 80 editors who collect information on sales promotions and doorbusters everyday. And by far they have collected 1,137 overseas businesses.
As for the role of salesperson, it’s mainly played by different overseas purchase agents, especially those e-commerce platforms that are developing fast. It’s apparent that everyone wants their fair share of this big cake.
Targeted at young people
Community-based private e-commerce Xiaohongshu.com sent several senior executives to visit suppliers and accumulate merchandise before the Black Friday sales started.
Xiaohongshu.com’s vice president Lou Yilin told TMTpost that the post-85 and post-90 generation had higher global outlook and therefore were willing to accept new things, and that their shopping demands weren’t limited to traditional items like cosmetics etc., but as well as other shopping items that’re needed for daily uses.
The post-85 and post-90 generation prefers to buy things that they like instead of relying on advertisements. They tend to believe other consumers’ comments on the merchandise and they find items that are cute or humorous attractive.
And that’s why in many news you could see promotions such as hot models promotion etc.
Daling.com who also targets young users has launched a Purple Friday, claiming that the company had spent millions in promotion and saving cost. In order to insure efficient logistic service and enough supply, Daling.com had started to prepare this battle two months ago with merchandise worth over a hundred million RMB in stock.
If Black Friday promotion is used adequately, then it has the chance of becoming the next Double Eleven festival.
Daling.com’s promotion director Yang Junmin told TMTpost that Daling started with creative items and targeted young people specially. It’s pretty much like a mobile version of Watsons. The joining of Lu Han also helped the website gained the favor of his fans.
Black Friday in the pocket
During this year's Double Eleven shopping festival, the transaction rate on Daling’s app surged to 97% while Tmall accounted for 68%. And during the first day of Black Friday, Ymatou’s app accounted for 95% of the total transaction volume. There’s no doubt that e-commerce is evolving from PC to the mobile future.
NetEase Kaola’s purchase manager explained to TMTpost:
For instance, during the Double Eleven festival, the mobile version of Kaola accounted 70% of the total sales volume. On the one hand, users have got used to mobile clients instead of using PC. On the other hand, major e-commerce platforms are using special coupon and offers to attract consumers and form a shopping habit to their advantage. That’s why a lot of consumers prefer using smarts phones to shop nowadays.
Compared to PCs, mobile phones are more connected to users, since we always carry them around and use them every minute we have. When you are browsing through WeChat and you see some discount information, you might probably look it up and end up downloading the app and making an order.
That’s why JD would bring up the 5 Years Strategic Plan with Tencent before every shopping season. Thanks to the cooperation, JD is able to have precise and direct advertisement on WeChat. That being said, WeChat is a very important promotion channel. JD also claimed that during Black Friday, the mobile app was proven to be an extremely useful and important channel to promote their business.
Such tendency is not uncommon around the world. Although Black Friday started offline, it grows even bigger as mobile payment matures. According to PayPal, during Black Friday in 2014, the number of users who used PayPal’s mobile client grew by 43%. And this year the number jumped 51% with the global transaction volume soared 62%. Among all items, fashion items have been the most popular kind with electronic gadgets as the second.
“Most users give up the chance of getting a refund once they make an order on cross-border e-commerce platforms,” Meng Jian said, which is quite true. Before cross-border e-commerce platforms became popular, consumers would have to go to all those foreign websites to make the purchase themselves and probably find a shipping company to deliver their merchandise. Such complicated process really kills the passion. And the worst part is it takes too long and therefore consumers would not be able to return the items they purchased if they had any problem.
Make no mistake. Such flaws have not been fixed completely even today, but the situation has been greatly improved. Xiaohongshu.com now is able to allow returns with any reason within 30 days while Ymatou supports within 7 days return policy for some items.
However, with that comes another issue: the return rate is sky high. After the Double Eleven festival the same problem also occurred, showing that such issues are quite inevitable.
Bolo.me’s co-founder Lei Tingting told TMTpost that Bolo.me would not have any kinds of Black Friday doorbuster since Bolo.me focused on the Japanese and South Korean markets and the company itself still needed time to grow before participating in such shopping festivals. Instead, Bolo.me wants to build up a good relationship with its customers first. To achieve that Bolo.me is having all kinds of publicity campaigns such as hosting a video-streaming and bulletin interaction activity on its shopping festival.
“The Double Eleven festival is the biggest shopping festival of the year in China. But good as it might sound, such major event always comes with frustrating experience. Foe example, some users might receive fake products, some might get their items after days of waiting, some might just have problem with ordering since everyone is ordering at the same time and the system would just collapse. These issues no doubt make shopping on that particular day painful. As for the business owners, they are also getting sick of price competition and the growing return rate and endless orders just make them crazy and bring more issues. In this case, such shopping festival is not a long-term solution to sales boost.”
“Such intensive and massive shopping festivals only happen once or twice a year. It’s not something that happens every week or every year, ” the vice president of Amazon China Niu Yinghua said. And Amazon started to prepare for the shopping festival three months earlier in order to make sure Amazon’s platform will run normally and able to handle the flood of traffic.
If we say the Double Eleven festival is mainly for local giants, it’s still unknown if Amazon would have the upper hand during Black Friday. Direct shipping service, shipping fee discount, and the competitive bargain are what Amazon has to offer. According to statistics from Amazon, the number of orders from China has increased by 700% from January to October in 2015 in comparison with the same period last year.
For consumers, shopping festivals disrupt their shopping plan and would tend to have irrational urge to shop. For instance, on community-based e-commerce platforms like Xiaohongshu.com, users would have strong urge to buy stuff after seeing people showing off their items everyday.
At the end of the day, it’s all about human nature, the need to consume. Still it’s apparent that the rise of Black Friday in China can be partially attributed to the growing spending power that Chinese people have.
And all the discount and bargain information that has been spreading on WeChat are actually guiding users to form a user habit of overseas online shopping in some way.
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Wang Xuan, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Garrett Lee (Senior Translator at ECHO), working for TMTpost.