The largest shopping event in the world calendar occurs every year on November 11th, yet many in the West remain completely unaware of its existence. Singles’ Day, the Chinese shopping holiday that generates more revenue than Black Friday, Amazon Prime day and Cyber Monday combined. This year’s sales ended at $38.3 billion in gross merchandise value, but what is it, and how does it affect the world of wine?
Singles’ Day began in 1990s China as a day of celebration for single people throughout the country. Now, thanks in large part to the marketing strategy of e-commerce giant Alibaba, the holiday ostensibly focuses on providing single consumers an excuse to indulge in some ‘self-care’ through shopping for themselves. Western brands eager to carve themselves a slice of this market include Adidas, Nike and Apple, as well as Kim Kardashian’s cosmetics line KKW.
Unfortunately, many of these brands have suffered as a result of the Western response to this year’s Hong Kong protests, with a substantial amount of Chinese citizens citing ‘national loyalty’ as their reason for boycotting certain brands. Not, however, in the world of wine. Typically the top performing shops in the Chinese drinks industry are those that offer baijius (distilled grain liquor), but this year two of the top ten best performers were the official shop of Moët Hennessy and wine retailer Lady Penguin.
We know then that there is a defined market of younger Chinese consumers that are actively purchasing wines and spirits other than baijiu. This year online sales for imported wine, beer and spirits increased massively, with the imported wine volume nearly three times greater than last year at approx. three million bottles. Things are looking good for imported wine in China, with this explosion of younger consumers only adding to the existing fine wine market. With the rise of Chinese produced fine wine it will be intriguing to see how things develop over the coming years, there are sure to be benefits and detriments to Western chateau, but one would tentatively suggest that it seems a good thing for wine as a whole.