An advert for Tampax tampons for use throughout China’s Singles’ Day procuring vacation on Nov. 11, 2017. The advert textual content reads, “Tmall 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Tampax tampons, Open your Tmall app and search for our flagship store.”(Photo: Tampax)

SAN FRANCISCO — Consumer large P&G is utilizing Saturday’s $17 billion on-line procuring vacation to promote Chinese ladies a product they hardly ever purchase: tampons. 

Just 1% of Chinese ladies use these options to menstrual pads, as in comparison with about 60% within the United States, based on Tampax, which invented them in 1933.

That gross sales potential has prompted Procter & Gamble’s Tampax model to launch a brand new, China-specific branded tampon through the Singles’ Day offers occasion run by e-commerce large Alibaba on Nov. 11. 

Menstruation merchandise characterize a $5.9 billion business within the United States and a $35.four billion one worldwide. Sales are anticipated to prime $40 billion globally within the subsequent three years, based on Global Industry Analysts. 

Singles’ Day started as Valentine’s Day-like vacation within the 1990s amongst college college students in China. Since 2009 Alibaba (BABA) has rebranded it as a procuring day, marketed as a “get something for yourself day” that is grown right into a multi-billion greenback gross sales occasion.  

The procuring occasion can be an enormous goal for U.S. retailers trying to attain Chinese customers. In 2016, 37% of whole patrons bought from worldwide manufacturers or retailers — with the United States the highest vendor of imported items, based on Alibaba. Citigroup estimates gross sales may rise as excessive as $24 billion this yr. 


The “something just for me” ethos of Single’s Day was good for Procter & Gamble, which selected Single’s Day final yr as a check run for bringing tampons out within the open to Chinese ladies. 

Periods are nonetheless thought-about unmentionable in Chinese society, the place ladies have a tendency to make use of euphemisms equivalent to “getting a visit from my aunt” to explain them. 

That’s why Chinese swimmer Yuanhui Fu made such waves through the Rio Olympics final yr when she overtly stated she was having her interval after a tough race.

Chinese ladies praised her on social media for her braveness in admitting to menstruating. A hashtag concerning the matter on Weibao, China’s Twitter equal, was  used greater than half 1,000,000 occasions within the days after the race.

Fu was additionally criticized, primarily by males, who stated that for girls to swim whereas menstruating was unhealthy and unhygienic. 

Three months later Tampax used 11.11 as a check, promoting 5,000 Tampax kits as pre-sales within the run as much as the precise day. These sorts of gross sales are very like pre-Black Friday gross sales within the United States.

Once it realized there was a market, Tampax used Alibaba’s platforms to realize perception into what Chinese ladies considered tampons and what sorts of selling and design would possibly badist them attain extra clients, the corporate stated.

That included a robust deal with water sports activities, together with sponsoring outings to water actions in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and a visit for some fortunate clients to the tropical island nation of the Maldives.

An advert for Tampax set to run on 11-11 contains a blond girl in a pink bikini browsing on a pink Tampax applicator. Behind her, one other girl scuba dives and one paraglides. whereas sailboats sail, a Tampa-branded dirigible hangs within the air and a champagne bottle pops. 

This yr Tampax going all out throughout Singles’ Day, pushing advertisements and advertising and marketing materials on-line meant to particularly enchantment to youthful Chinese ladies who could also be extra open to new concepts and fewer sure by older social constraints. 

Its purpose in China is to “enable Chinese women to gain a true sense of liberation during their menstrual period,” stated Hong Zhang, supervisor of exterior relations for female look after Tampax China.

“We need them to really feel that on these days, there are not any restrictions on their each day lives. If they need to get glammed up, in the event that they need to do bodily train, hike, and even go swimming within the ocean — with tampons, they’ll do all of it,” he stated.

Alibaba touts its potential for Proctor & Gamble to make use of its highly effective platforms to succeed in China’s 1.three billion folks.

Unlike Amazon within the United States, Alibaba hosts a posh ecosystem of websites, together with the eBay-like Tabao; TMall, the place manufacturers promote on to customers; and the business-to-business web site Alibaba additionally owns AliPay, utilized by 450 million Chinese as an internet cost system.

“Through efforts like this, we’re proud to empower the lives of hundreds of thousands of ladies in China who’re searching for high quality merchandise and higher life,” stated Chris Tung, chief advertising and marketing officer for the Alibaba Group in Hangzhou, China.

Moving past tampons

In the United States, the female hygiene market is definitely transferring past tampons. Increasingly youthful ladies are choosing what they really feel are extra pure and eco-friendly choices, typically made by ladies.

This can vary from reusable interval underwear to pure latex menstrual cups, reusable pure sponge tampons, washable fabric pads and home made fabric sanitary pads.

American ladies have additionally railed towards the so-called tampon tax, pushing to have female hygiene merchandise exempted from gross sales tax, as a result of, like meals and prescriptions, they’re thought-about life necessities.

Many states have carved out different sales-tax exceptions over time, typically based mostly on native pursuits or aggressive lobbying.

China nonetheless has a methods to go on this trajectory. The nation did not get its first home tampon till final yr, when an engineer launched the Danbishuang model, which suggests Crimson Jade Cool.

Contributing: Zlati Meyer in New York City.

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