Forget about festivals, the future of Chinese big online sales spree is called “Gala”. From Alibaba to Bilibili, Shopping Galas, or Online Galas, are expanding the concept of “shopping event” as we know it to double down on the entertainment aspect of the festivals.
What if Amazon transform Prime Day in a show you could participate to from home? Like a huge parade with international artists from all around the world performing together on the same stage.
Well, this is basically what Alibaba is doing with its number one festival, Singles’ Day, hosted every year on November 11. In the last few years, the festival has been growing exponentially, achieving in 2020 sales for over 38 million USD in just 24 hours. The show has seen the different performances on stage and the participation of a few world-famous artists such as Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.
Online Galas are not just limited to e-commerce platforms, but a variety of different media are endorsing the model to drive engagement among their audience. The Chinese video sharing platform Bilibili has been hosting New Year’s Eve Galas in the last two years. Although the pandemic did prevent Bilibili to invite international stars, the platform managed to organize an astonishing agenda for the 2020 gala, rounding up its most famous Uploaders (the Bilibili correspondent to Youtubers) and KOLs (Chinese Influencers), together with mainstream celebrities and even virtual idols, with performances ranging from pop music to classical Chinese opera. According to the latest statistics, millions of people attended the show online, with more than 14.000 comments during the 5 hours of the streaming.
From what we are seeing, these events are having a huge success among Chinese consumers, who are now looking for more and more entertainment in shopping activities, like games to exchange points with sale coupons or art performances to enjoy with friends. Not only this new form of events is becoming very common in China, but platforms also have started to increase their overall length.
A clear example of this is again Singles’ Day 2020: originally being just a one-day event, last year Alibaba decided to extend the promotions to 2 full weeks, from the very beginning of November, with different agenda of planned promotions and product categories dedicated to specific days.
Online Festivals are changing in China. Their scope is now much wider than what we are used to in Europe, combining sales with pure entertainment, but also much longer than before. This last trend needs a special mention: calendars have never been so packed with promotions and festivals, and these activities are now so common along the year that marketers are starting to refer to them as promotional seasons rather than localized shopping frenzies.
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