Friday Forum – We bring the hottest questions from the Chinese Social & Digital space to our brightest minds.

What are you most surprised about during this year’s Double-11 sales festival?

West Xu
Senior Account Manager / We Are Social


This year's Double-11 is different from previous years, for sure. It is no longer a day of celebration, but a national buy-buy-buy event that began on November 1. And what surprised me with this year's Double-11 is not the new records and sales numbers, but the explosive rise of live-streaming. Half of the entertainment circle was involved in some type of e-commerce initiative during the sales festival. And compared to the shopping frenzy of previous years, this year's rules are more complicated and cumbersome than in previous years. Staying up late for the chance for receiving more discounts, and money-obsessed customers and businesses, all looking to make an extra buck.

Reece Xiang
Senior Account Executive / We Are Social


Because of the pandemic's impact on the retail industry, many brand owners and retailers had even greater expectations for Double-11 than previous years. Because of that, it might not be that surprising, but I was astonished to see luxury brands, that might not be the first to jump on discount-heavy sales festivals, to spend money on various shopping festivals this year.

Whether it is brand owners themselves or through various e-commerce platforms, luxury brands are embracing new channels, participating in live-streams, all to capture young Chinese consumers. 

Sylvia She
Senior Account Executive / We Are Social


I've been an active Double-11 warrior ever since the first year of this major sales festival. I have truly enjoyed previous years with various discount mechanics that have given me great value for relatively low money. However, my enthusiasm to spend time buying things during Double-11 has dropped sharply. One of the main reasons is that I think the sole purpose of the event is for people to enjoy large discounts, but the various games and gimmicks are pushing the consumers harder and harder to receive a similar type of discount. You need to plan carefully to get the maximum discount, which just makes me feel like retailers and the platforms are playing us tricks to avoid paying out any type of discount. All this gameplay is not fun anymore.

Leeya Liu
Copywriter / We Are Social


Not much surprised me with this year's Double-11, I felt more exhausted, to be honest. Taobao used similar types of discount mechanics and gameplay gimmicks we've seen before, but perhaps most exhausting was the extended promotion period with two separate time slots for pre-sales. Together with a whole year of various tiring shopping festivals, Double-11 failed to engage me.

Emily Zhang
Copywriter / We Are Social


Two things stood out for me during this year's sales festival, both good and bad. Firstly, I didn't buy anything from Double-11. I was surprised at how complicated the different discount deals were and the requirements to participate. The calculations were confusing and it just left me with a bad, irritating experience. However, I was positively surprised by Alibaba's big launch event, especially the performance of the famous rapper, Cai Guoqing. I can recommend jumping to 01:35 on this video!