Wuliangye tops alcohol sales during Singles’ Day shopping spree

Initially founded in the 1990s by some Chinese university students as an unofficial celebration of being single, ‘Single’s Day’ was subsequently adapted by China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba a decade ago to be the largest shopping spree in China, and indeed the world.

Singles’ Day has broken sales records every year in its 10 year history. Last year, the purchases made in a day were over 213.5 billion RMB (US$31 billion) and it was reportedly bigger than Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the weekend in-between combined.

This year, the global shopping spree generated more than 268 billion RMB (US$38.3 billion) of purchases on Alibaba’s Tmall. It took only 63 minutes and 59 seconds for sales to hit 100 billion RMB (US$14.3 billion).

The drinks industry also benefits a lot from the annual shopping spree, especially as many Chinese use it as an opportunity to stock up before Chinese New Year. This year on Tmall, online drinks retailer 1919 Wines & Spirits, owned by Alibaba, triumphed as the top retailer, enjoying transactions worth 317 million RMB (US$45.1 million) during the day, followed by Tmall Chaoshi and the online flagship retail shop of baijiu brand Wuliangye, Jiuxian, one of China’s biggest online liquor retailers.

Maotai (Moutai) was the most popular item last year, and remains one of the most sought-after liquor brands in China. However, the brand has changed its sales strategy and sales appeared to be less aggressive this year.

According to the statistics of Tmall, baijiu was still the most popular category, and Wuliangye was the hottest brand of all, followed by Maotai. Wuliangye achieved the highest sales in major retailers, namely 1919 Wines & Spirits, Jiuxian and Suning. Jiuxian revealed that Wulaingye was the first brand to hit 100 million RMB (US$14.3 million), enjoying a 86% growth compared to the previous year.

The reason for Wuliangye enjoying such massive growth was believed to be due to the push of key online leaders (KOLs) live-streaming on various platforms, including 1919 Wines & Spirits and Tmall Chaoshi. This prevailing marketing and sales strategy in Chinese e-commerce channels nowadays has been found to be effective in promoting sales.

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