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Marketing insights from Alibaba’s Double 11 Global Shopping Festival

By ESC Editorial Team, 2 months ago Business
Marketing insights from Alibaba’s Double 11 Global Shopping Festival

Shoppers from all over the world flocked to Alibaba's annual "Double 11" Shopping Festival on Nov. 11, which saw record sales of CNY 213.5 billion (USD $30.7 billion). Less than two hours after the opening of the Double 11 Shopping Festival this year, sales had already reached CNY 100 billion, according to the Alibaba website.


* Sales Data of Alibaba's Double 11 over the Years

The three main markets besides mainland China in 2017 were Russia, Hong Kong(China) and the United States. Popular items purchased by overseas customers included mobile phones, wool coats and knitted sweaters. In the first hour of "Double 11" Shopping Festival in 2018, the countries that sold the most goods to China were Japan, the United States and South Korea. The most popular overseas items purchased were clothing, wool coats, trousers and hoodies.

Let’s take a look at the following four aspects to see Alibaba's marketing innovations during the Double 11 Shopping Festival in 2018.

Low-End Market

According to the introduction of Tmall President, the low-end markets of Alibaba such as Cuntao, LST(, Tmall Small Store all joined Double 11 in 2018. Third- and fourth-tier cities and rural areas were one source of sales growth.

However, in order to distinguish itself from Taobao at the begining, Tmall was established for brands and consumers at a high-level. Will lower-end consumers accept Tmall’s shopping invitation? This means that many brands will redefine their products and service standards in the low-end market in order to achieve explosive consumption growth in this market.

SEE ALSO: How Pinduoduo succeeded by grabbing the low-end market

New Retail

New Retail was first proposed by Jack Ma and officially launched in 2017. So far, 200,000 offline stores have been digitised in 400 cities with 500,000 shopping guider. These stores all participated in the Double 11 Shopping Festival.

Alibaba’s All-In strategy

In addition to New Retail, one of Alibaba's major innovations on Double 11, 2018 was the All-in strategy. This was the first time in Alibaba's digital economy.

  • E-commerce platforms such as Tmall, Taobao, Koubei, Fliggy
  • Cultural and entertainment sectors such as Youku, Xiami, UC; 
  • Local life platforms like Hema,, Koubei;
  • Offline business supermarkets such as Yintai, Easyhome, RT-Mart;
  • Cross-board e-commerce platforms including Tmall.HK, Tmall Global, AliExpress, Lazada by Alibaba and so on.

All of the above brands participated in the Double 11 of 2018. 

Simplify Double 11 rules and increase interaction frequency to stimulate consumers’ shopping enthusiasm

Having learned from consumers’ negative comments on the mid-year 618 promotion and last year's Double 11, including "too complicated" rules and "a waste of time and energy", the rules were simplified this year, making it easier for consumers to participate in the shopping sections. This year, Tmall paid a CNY 10 million shopping allowance with the uniform rule of "CNY 50 OFF every CNY 400", which could be used across all stores and categories and stacked in parallel with other preferential methods.

There was also a new game called "Double 11 Partner". Consumers could get "energy" when they consumed online with Alibaba Apps such as mobile Taobao, Tmall, Youku,, etc., and offline stores like Yintai, RT-Mart, and Easyhome, before Nov.11. Consumers were able to exchange the accumulated energy on November 10 for lucky digital money that could be deducted from the final consumption payment.

In return for being the sales sources of Double 11, these “Double 11 Partners” achieved high traffic through Double 11 on the other side. Take Alibaba’s as an example. Obtaining lucky digital money from that could be used on Ele.meduring Double 11 attracted users to this App from other platforms like Meituan (another food delivery platform like in China). 

In addition, in 2018 Double 11 was no longer limited to "one day". From pre-sales on October 20 through November 11, Tmall guided consumers daily to interactions, such as vouchers, allowances, lucky money and the exchange of old for new goods.

In the offline digital stores, consumers were able to make a deposit through a pre-sale to ensure that they could buy the product on the day of Double 11, without them running out of stock. 

After the experience in 2017, Alibaba found a balance between the complexity of the rules and the fun. Double 11 in 2018 has abandoned the complex, high-barrier approach of engagement and adopted longer, more frequent interactions between consumers and businesses. 

Will consumers be tired and less enthusiastic in the long run before Double 11?  What we can expect for the next Double 11 in 2019? These are our next topics in the future articles about Alibaba’s marketing strategy. 

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