Golden Week and Singles’ Day go global

Transaction volume spikes, in-store vs online peaks, and more – Adyen APAC President Warren Hayashi shares trends and retail insights from two of the most important shopping holidays of the year.

Golden Week typically refers to a seven-day national holiday following China’s National Day on October 1. Meanwhile, Singles’ Day which happens on November 11 originated in China as an anti-Valentine’s Day where singlehood is celebrated.

Thanks to the power of Chinese shoppers, both holidays have evolved to become important shopping festivals for global retailers. Chinese retail giant Alibaba is known to break its Singles’ Day record year on year. This year, it netted a new high of over US$30 billion.

Warren Hayashi, President of Adyen Asia Pacific, gives us a quick overview of the two shopping holidays – along with Adyen data and retail insights. 

POS transactions up during Golden Week

“We expected Chinese shoppers to travel and shop overseas during the seven-day Golden Week holiday. And they did, as shown by the spikes in point-of-sale (POS) transactions using Chinese payment methods in places like the US and Europe during that time,” says Warren.

Source: Adyen data, 2018

Warren adds: “Online transactions remained more or less the same during Golden Week; in fact, we noticed a tiny dip in online transactions using Chinese payment methods like Alipay, UnionPay and WeChat Pay in the first week of October. My guess is that Chinese tourists are shopping in stores rather than online.

This indicates that during a travel/retail period like Golden Week, retailers need to pay attention to their POS transactions. Retailers need to make sure their POS systems are ready for the increased transaction volume.”

During a travel/retail period like Golden Week, retailers need to be ready for the increased transaction volume.

Warren Hayashi, Adyen APAC President

Overall Singles’ Day ecommerce surge

“What we observed for Singles’ Day is very interesting. Transaction volumes for our Chinese merchants skyrocketed, as with transactions using Chinese payment methods. When we look at Asia Pacific, the overall online transaction volumes for our merchants in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand rose steeply as well. In Singapore alone, we saw a 30% increase in transaction volume on Singles’ Day.”

Source: Adyen data, 2018

We aren’t just talking about Chinese shoppers. The bulk of transaction surge came from local shoppers within the various countries. Just to share, some of the segments in Asia Pacific that saw a huge spike are Beauty & Personal Care and Clothing & Retail.

One thing is for sure here, 11/11 or Singles’ Day is not just a phenomenon limited to China or Asia.”

Extended global shopping season

Globally, the traditional shopping season used to start near Christmas where we get gifts for friends and family. In places like Singapore, Hong Kong and China, there is increased retail activity in the weeks leading to the Lunar New Year.

Warren adds: “Just a few years ago, Black Friday and Cyber Monday marked the start of the holiday season. Now, we are starting much early with Singles’ Day and Golden Week being added to the retail calendar. 

From what we learnt, focusing on either online or in-store is not enough. Retailers need to consider a unified commerce strategy that centers around how consumers behave and shop. 

It’s not just preparing for a day of increased transactions, but an extended global shopping season that now starts in October – and we’re excited to see fantastic sales volumes for our merchants.” 

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