New data presented by Rakuten Marketing’s affiliate network reveals a 32 per cent year-on-year increase in affiliate sales driven by UK shoppers for Singles’ Day 2017. Based on proprietary performance data, Rakuten Marketing expects ecommerce retail sales to climb approximately 12 per cent year-on-year for the whole 2017 holiday selling season.
Interestingly, in the case of apparel and accessories, a hugely popular category for Singles’ Day, the time taken from the first online interaction with a brand to completion of a sale was actually 12 per cent longer than earlier in the month. A sure sign UK shoppers are checking sites earlier with sales in mind.
Rise of ‘early start’ shopping
A separate international consumer survey commissioned by Rakuten Marketing found growth is being driven by ‘early start’ shopping. Twenty-four per cent of consumers have initiated gift shopping as early as summer, with another 59 per cent of shoppers citing intent to begin purchasing by Halloween. In fact, the findings now suggest that before the start of December, 48 per cent of consumers have finished their holiday shopping.
Despite the popularity of early shopping, purchases on Singles’ Day alone saw an 11 per cent bump compared with the preceding Saturday, according to Rakuten Marketing’s display network.
Abi Jacks, marketing director, Rakuten Marketing UK notes brands and consumers are now savvy to international mega events such as Singles’ Day. Jacks says, ‘Thanks to globalisation and strong promotions from international retailers, consumers are engaging with international events more than ever. This year, retailers should expect longer sales cycles approaching the holidays, as consumers take more time to explore multiple promotional options when considering a purchase.’
Heightened holiday competition
Single’s Day of course started out domestically within China. Today however, the findings show China (17 per cent) has now become the first choice for US shoppers looking to carry out online purchases with an online retailer based overseas. Meanwhile the UK (six per cent) is now the second most popular choice at this time of year.
Top promotions for this holiday season are highly influenced by free and on-time delivery and promotional discounts that include percentage off, dollar off and loyalty offers such as cash back. Twenty-two per cent of US respondents will purchase, or spend more, with a brand based in another country if there are favourable discounts involved.
Abi concludes, ‘It’s crucial to remember these global sales moments are both a time of heightened demand and competition. The opportunity is enormous but marketers operating in western markets must acknowledge that as commerce becomes ever more globalised, they must consider how to manage their investment across channels to keep their products front of mind.’