Interview with Gustav Åström – Founder and CEO of Aventura Group: on e-commerce and Singles’s Day 2020

2020-12-16Nordic Asia Team
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Please tell us briefly about yourself and your experiences within Digital Growth and E-commerce in Asia?

I am born in Sweden but have lived half my life abroad, I moved to Shanghai in 2005. I have been active as entrepreneur during all my years in China, mainly focused on e-commerce and business services. For the past 8+ years I have been building Aventura, a brand group and growth partner.

We partner with international brands to scale them in China, either in the form of joint-ventures or acting as long-term operating partner. Although we have omnichannel approach our edge is within digital sales channels as this is where brands can get an exponential growth in a short time span in China.

Why is China E-commerce so important for international brands?

The Chinese online market opportunity has become too large to ignore for international consumer companies. It is a combination of the immense size of the Chinese consumer market, and the highly developed local e-com market. Today the Chinese e-com market is already larger than the e-com markets of US and Europe combined. On top of that it is growing at a rate far beyond any western market.

At the same time, it is a highly complex and competitive market to approach, which requires a strong commitment and significant investment to access.

Why is Singles Day important for new brands who wants to enter China E-commerce?

The annual Singles Day shopping festival is a good opportunity for new brands to build brand awareness and expand their customer base in China.

For brands that are able to leverage this opportunity in the right way it is a great platform to rapidly gain exposure and boost sales. For example, Fenty Beauty launched just a couple of months ago in China and used Singles Day to make a big splash in the market.

What stood out and what was particularly special in this year’s Singles Day?

It was bigger than ever. Tmall alone reached CNY 498 billion in GMV, which is a 80% growth from 2019.

Foreign brands were a big focus during this Singles Day. As Chinese consumers have not been able to travel abroad this year consumers have instead turned to online platforms to purchase foreign products and to explore new brands.

Live streaming. Although it has been big in China for many years, this year it was really the go-to tactic for Singles Day. Not limited to influencers, some company CEOs and celebrities also participated.

Which online platforms and brands do you think performed above expectations on Singles Day 2020 and what do you think is the reason behind this?

Singles Day used to be a pure Tmall event, but year by year it has become bigger and more platforms have joined in. This year virtually every e-com platform, and even livestreaming platforms, participated. Lazada, Shopee, PinDuoDuo to name a few shopping platforms, all did well this year.

Growing popularity of local brands. Traditionally Chinese consumers have preferred foreign brands in many categories, although this is still very much the case, it has been a trend for the past years that local brands are growing in appeal as they have become better, to put it simply. This year about 80% of the brands that sold over 100 million during Singles Day were local brands.

As mentioned before Fenty Beauty is an example of a brand that did very well. Their sales were close to SEK 200 million in over just a couple of days. The brand just launched in China in September with a Tmall Flagship Store. They invested heavily and localized their marketing strategy, and Rihanna did a Tmall livestream!

Why is Singles Day in China Important for Nordic Brands and what should Nordic Brands do more to gain more exposure to Singles Day?

For any brand active in China, it is a given sales event in the year to attend. Again, if done right it is a great platform to expose your brand, build followers and new customers.

To really leverage the opportunity, a brand needs to start early with preparation, craft a well thought through strategy, and of course execute well.

Work with a local e-commerce team for strategy and operation. Be open-minded to localizing marketing materials for the campaign. It also makes sense to consider cross-over collaborations with brands that are more well-known to the market, taking advantage of the brand’s Nordic DNA.

What is your strongest memory from Singles Day and what did you buy on Singles Day this year?

Great teamwork and seeing our excellent team in action! Our online team worked late evenings and weekends for several weeks to prepare and manage sales campaigns.

I bought a water carbonator from Aarke! One of the Nordic brands we manage in China.

For more information about Aventura Group please click here

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