Female consumers shops on mobile for Singles' DaySingles’ Day kicked off the 2020 peak shopping season, with many watching nervously to see if the challenges presented throughout of the year would impact performance. In positive news, Alibaba announced on Thursday that the 24-hour event had once again broken records, raking in 498.2 billion yuan – or roughly US$75 billion, a 26% increase from 2019.

For UK retailers and affiliate publishers, the results from Singles’ Day represent a positive launch of the peak shopping period, and there is a great deal they can learn from the performance results to inform their Cyber Week activity.

Singles’ Day Device Usage

Consumers throughout APAC continue to use both mobile and desktop/laptop as their device of preference when shopping.

Overwhelming, consumers are browsing on mobile, with 50% of all clicks from APAC based consumers on the Rakuten Advertising affiliate network occurring on the device on 11.11. The preference of mobile as the device of choice demonstrates how important it is for retailers to utilise in-app tracking. The holistic view of affiliate performance provided by in-app tracking enables advertisers to optimise campaigns and incentives publishers to drive conversions.

Though mobile was the strongest performing device for clicks, Singles’ Day depicts that many consumers are still more comfortable converting on desktop. 63% of orders from APAC consumers where conducted on desktop/laptops during Singles’ Day 2020.

Leading in Cyber Week, retailers should be conscious of where consumers are spending their time and the devices they use to discover and purchase products. A robust affiliate strategy that encourages reach and engagement across devices will deliver increased performance success in 2020.

Top Performing Publisher Verticals

A recent study from Rakuten Advertising highlighted that whilst consumers would still look to spend this peak shopping season, they would remain extremely savvy. Consumer savviness during Singles’ Day was evident when looking at the top performing publisher verticals.

Loyalty & Rewards drove 68% of all APAC consumer orders across the Rakuten Advertising affiliate network on November 11th. Coupon and vouchers drove 17% of orders further demonstrating how consumers are searching for the best offer prior to purchasing.

Throughout the pandemic, the Rakuten Advertising affiliate network has seen an increase in the traffic driven to a retailer’s site via content publishers. This trend continued over Singles’ Day with Content publishers driving 15% of all clicks.

Retailers need to consider the role that all publisher models play in the consumer journey. Content publishers are large drivers of traffic during the discovery phase of a consumer’s journey, while Loyalty & Reward publishers are the publisher most utilised when converting. 

Top performing Advertiser Categories

APAC consumers purchasing during Singles’ Day predominantly shopped in the Apparel & Accessories category, with the vertical accounting for 41% of orders. Department stores (16%) were the second most popular vertical, followed by Lingerie & Intimates (13%).

For publishers to prepare for Cyber Weekend, it’s important that they look at which verticals and products are performing well, both onsite and within the industry. Using this data, publishers can then make decisions about promotional placements and content opportunities based on what consumers are searching for and purchasing.

Additionally, retailers and publishers should work together to collaborate on promotion opportunities and campaigns to boost performance in a mutually benefiting way.

Retailers and publishers alike have a huge opportunity to boost performance and make up for sales lost due to COVID-19 during the upcoming Cyber Week period. Taking learnings and data from events such as Singles’ Day enables retailers and publishers to tweak strategies and campaigns based on consumer behaviour.


For more insights from Rakuten Advertising, reach out to your account representative or subscribe to our blog.