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Could Singles' Day be the Christmas gift UK retailers are looking for?

Our most recent shopper survey shows Singles' Day could be the next online retail trend to extend the festive season and offer UK retailers a pre-Christmas boost.

Held on November 11th, the online-focused shopping day originated in China as an opportunity for single people to celebrate their single status and treat themselves.

Singles' Day has now become a huge global phenomenon, and one of the biggest e-commerce days in the world. Last year, Chinese shoppers spent $25 billion on Singles' Day - but does this concept translate for UK shoppers?

We put the question to thousands of online shoppers via our Have Your Say customer survey, which collects the views of up to 7,000 shoppers every day, to see how they felt about Singles' Day and how it would impact their approach to buying Christmas gifts. We also wanted to get their thoughts on discounting and its impact on shoppers’ habits in the lead up to Christmas.

Singles' Day volumes could be on the rise

Interest in shopping on Singles' Day has increased significantly year on year, growing from 54 per cent last year to 75 per cent this year. However, although there are high levels of interest, general awareness about Singles' Day has stayed the same at a very low six per cent. Retailers looking to make the most of increasing sales under Singles' Day may need to do more to promote it.

Although three quarters of the people we surveyed said they would participate in Singles' Day, this number jumped to over 90 per cent for shoppers aged under 24. This discrepancy highlights the opportunity for retailers with this younger demographic as their target market to extend their pre-Christmas selling period to help ease congestion on already well-established discount shopping days, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

We all love a bargain

We were also interested in learning more about shoppers’ general attitudes to discounting and whether reducing prices for a period actually impacted consumer behaviour. Not surprisingly, shoppers are after a bargain in the lead up to Christmas, with over 82 per cent saying discounts would encourage them to buy online with 66 per cent of shoppers surveyed saying the main reason they took advantage of discounts was that bargains made shopping more appealing.

Pre-Christmas sales are extremely popular; 45 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men take part in Black Friday sales already. Previous years have seen not only the rise of Black Friday but of Cyber Monday, and even Manic Monday in the run up to Christmas with discounting taking place earlier and earlier each year. 

Singles' Day offers shoppers the opportunity to get their Christmas shopping started even sooner and pick up a bargain for friends and loved ones up to six weeks before Christmas.

Interestingly, our survey revealed that 43 per cent of shoppers would be more likely to shop when offers are extended – showing real appetite for extended pre-peak discounts.

Customers like to shop around

Over 38 per cent of people who responded to our survey saying they would prefer to buy their discounted goods online, while 49 per cent said they would pick up a bargain both online and in-store.

This research shows there are plenty of opportunities for retailers to engage with willing customers by offering special bargains in the usually quieter weeks ahead of the seasonal shopping peak, as long as retailers are willing to promote their discounts more widely – extending the Christmas magic, and giving shoppers more chances to avoid the last-minute Christmas rush.

As we draw closer to Christmas and one of the most competitive seasons in the retail calendar, we’ll be watching with interest to see how retailers respond to this emerging global trend, which could revitalise once again how UK shoppers approach the festive shopping season – giving shoppers even more time to pick up a bargain and leave less to buy in the last-minute Christmas rush.

If you would like to hear more about our Have Your Say Insight programme or how we can help with your year round parcel deliveries, click here.

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