Thanksgiving is not a holiday in China, but the day after the United States celebrates with turkey and stuffing is becoming a day when Chinese online shoppers gratefully avail themselves of the Black Friday deals many overseas retailers and brands offer on their websites, both inside and outside of China.
Amazon China reports that its sales of overseas products increased fivefold on Black Friday (Nov. 27), and were five times larger than comparable sales on Singles’ Day, the big online shopping event in China that takes place every Nov. 11. Amazon also says it attracted four times more new visitors during the week of U.S. Thanksgiving this year versus 2014, as it offered deals all week along.
Amazon.com Inc. says best-selling brands during Black Friday in China include Daniel Wellington, Samsonite, Clarks, Philips Norelco, Calvin Klein, Asus, Thermos, SanDisk, Tommy Hilfiger and Logitech. Amazon China is No. 5 in the Internet Retailer 2015 China 500.
Azoya Group, a Chinese company that provides e-commerce services to about 30 overseas retailers, says the orders received by its clients from China increased 100% on Black Friday.
And Red, a Chinese mobile app that sells overseas products to its 15 million users, says it attracted 2 million new users during a three-day Black Friday promotion. Red also reports its conversion rate reached 40%, which means 40% of visitors landing on its e-commerce pages placed an order.
The spike in Chinese consumers buying online from retailers outside of China also was reflected in results from Alipay, the online payment service affiliated with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s dominant e-commerce company. Alipay says purchases using Alipay on U.S. retail sites increased fifteenfold in the last two weeks of November over the same period last year.
While Alipay has not disclosed how many U.S. e-retail sites accept Alipay, one of the high-profile retailers that does is Macy’s Inc., No. 7 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500. And Macy’s sales through Alipay were 28 times higher on Black Friday this year than last, Alipay says.
In fact, the section of Macys.com that caters to Chinese consumers experienced some technical problems on Nov. 27, Macy’s disclosed in its account on Chinese social network Weibo. Macy’s did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
On Black Friday, Macys.com offered Chinese shoppers a variety of offers, including a discount of 50 yuan ($7.81) on shipping to China, and 100 yuan ($15.65) off orders above 500 yuan ($78.16). Macy’s also noted there would be no U.S. sales tax charged on orders destined for China because the products were being exported. On Macys.com a consumer can choose China as her country on the home page and see prices in the Chinese currency, the yuan, though the content of site remains in English.
Besides selling to Chinese online consumers through its global site, Macys.com, the retailer last month launched its official store on Alibaba’s Tmall Global marketplace, which enables overseas companies to sell to online shoppers in China.
Alibaba affiliate company Ant Financial Services Group operates Alipay, an online payment business with about 400 million registered Chinese users who frequently tie their Alipay accounts to their bank accounts. According to Chinese research company iResearch, Alipay leads the online payment market in China, with an 82.3% share in 2014, followed by Tenpay, a payment affiliate of Chinese social media giant Tencent Group.
The response from Chinese consumers to online Black Friday deals also came through in results from Pitney Bowes Inc., which in May acquired Borderfree, a company that enables retailers in the United States and United Kingdom to ship to online shoppers around the world. On Black Friday, Chinese consumers made more purchases from U.S. e-retailer clients of Pitney Bowes than any other country, and those sales increased 38% over the Friday after Thanksgiving last year, says Mike Griffin, vice president of partnership and development in the Consumer and Merchant Services unit of Pitney Bowes. Orders placed by Chinese consumers increased 78% on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, and from Taiwan by 114%, Griffin said last week on an Internet Retailer holiday webinar.
One reason for the sharp increase in purchases from Chinese shoppers this year is that Pitney Bowes now offers Alipay as an acceptance option for its e-retailer clients, enabling Chinese online shoppers to check out with a payment method they use frequently in China, Griffin said. Sales of Michael Kors handbags and accessories were particularly popular among Chinese shoppers over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, he added.
Griffin noted that it’s not just Chinese consumers seizing on the Black Friday deals increasingly offered by retailers in the United States and the United Kingdom. For one luxury retailer that he did not name, Korea represented 55% of holiday sales, and sales over the holiday weekend also jumped from Russia, Taiwan, Egypt, Israel and Nigeria.
International shoppers have learned to wait for Black Friday online deals, and the sales peak gets steeper each year, he said. “That awareness is clearly there,” Griffin said on the webinar.
Before its acquisition by Pitney Bowes, Borderfree was listed as the provider of international services to 40 of the online retailers ranked among the Top 1000 in North America, according to Top500Guide.com, making it the leader in that category.Favorite