If you have a wishlist on AliExpress you probably noticed that from one day to another many of the products in your list shot up in price. If you follow AliExpress on social media you probably saw that they released a statement to explain what was going on:
Like every year, some AliExpress shoppers have expressed their outrage after seeing the sudden surge in prices of their wishlist products. They accuse sellers of jacking up the prices just before the 11 11 so on the day of the shopping festival they can lower them back to what they were originally and appear that they have applied a huge discount.
AliExpress defends itself admitting that prices do indeed go up before the 11 11 but the reason for this is that sellers have to remove their usual discounts in order to active the ones they will use on the day of the shopping festival. They say that even though the prices are higher at the moment, on the 11 11 these discounts will greater than the original ones.
As this is a recurring theme every year, in AlixBlog we decided to conduct a small experiment to determine who is right, AliExpress or the consumers. Thus, since the 27th of October (2 weeks before the 11 11) we have been closely monitoring on AlixBlog Live* the prices of 8538 products on AliExpress.
*If you still don’t know AlixBlog Live, it is a free tool we released recently that allows you to create AliExpress product wishlists and see on a graph price fluctuations. You can start shopping smarter using it for free here (currently its only in Spanish (English soon), but it would be cool if you tried it out and give us feedback).
After collecting the data and crunching some numbers, the results of the experiment have been remarkable and we think we have answers for everything. The conclusions will surprise you, especially when you find out the amount of products that actually are cheaper on the 11 11.
But before a side note:
Why do the prices in AliExpress go up just before the 11 11 shopping festival?
Lets use this product as an example:
As you can see there are two prices, the normal and the discounted one. Even though it says that the coupon is only available for a certain amount of time (create a sense of urgency), the reality is that they are always active and with time we assume that the discounted price is actually the normal price. In order to make it seem that they have a huge discount (55%) they actually increase the original price (the one above $80.26).
What happens is that a few days before the 11 11all of these discounts disappear and the prices that appear on AliExpress are the jacked up ones instead of the discounted ones. Sellers are now free to apply their 11 11 discounts which will be active on the day of the shopping festival.
¿So, how many sellers increase the price before the 11 11?
The key date in our experiment was the 3rd of November, this was when AliExpress started to show icons next to the prices announcing that on the 11 11 the product would be considerably cheaper:
Indeed, results showed that on the 3rd of November many sellers increased their prices of their products (or if you prefer, removed their usual discounts to apply the 11 11 ones). According to our data, with a sample of 8538 analyzed products, 86,60% of them rose in price from the 2nd to the 4th of November.
Another curios fact was that 11.32% actually went down in price. The rest remained the same or fluctuated very little (not enough to be considered significant), we attribute this to currency fluctuation.
However, the best part of the data is that we can say which product in our sample rose up the most in price: this ring went from 8,17€ to 126,25€ in 24h. In AlixBlog Live the curve looks like this:
We were going to award him with the AlixBlog 11.11.2016 most unreliable seller, but we decide not to for two reasons:
• Because at least this product will be cheaper on the 11 11 that it was originally (before the increase in price): it will cost 6,86€.
•Because we have found someone better suited for the prize. More on this later.
¿So, are the 11th of November discounts false?
No, not at all.
It is true that the first part of the experiment demonstrates clearly that consumer complaints have a solid foundation: prices do go up a lot. However, to make things fair we had to test AliExpress’ version, ¿is it really worth going through these days of unfair prices so then on the 11 11 they plummet more than ever?
As AlixBlog Live doesn’t have the capacity to foreshadow future prices, we used the following information to conduct the second part of the experiment:
1 – The prices the products in the sample will have on the 11 11 shopping festival.
2 – The lowest price the products had before the sudden price surge.
Having collected the data, results show that the majority of the products in AliExpress DO actually go down in price.
From all of the sample, 81,15% of the products will be cheaper on the 11th. This confirms that AliExpress also is right: prices will be cheaper than those before the price raise on the 3rd of November.
So, how about the other 18,85%? Lets talk about cheeky sellers
Even though the vast majority of the products will be discounted on the 11 11 shopping festival (in a bit we will teach you how to check if a product is actually discounted or not), evidence also suggests that a little under 20% of the sellers in AliExpress take advantage of the 11 11 to tag products with a discount label even though they have not been reduced in price. We have categorized these sellers in two groups:
Sellers that raise the price and then on the 11 11 they take it down to its original price: “CHEEKY”
These comprise the majority of the 18,85% and we are sure you know about them. They jack up the prices and then on the 11th of November they bring them down to the exact price as before, for example this seller.
Sellers that try to take advantage of consumers by raising the prices and not bringing them back down on the 11 11 “EXTREMELY CHEEKY!!!!!!”
Fortunately there are not many of these, but we have a few nominees for the the AlixBlog 11.11.2016 most unreliable seller of the year. However, out of all of them this seller stood out drastically. This Fishing vest Seller thinks that for some reason he can trick consumers in believing that 114,70€ is a great discount…
…however, less than two weeks ago, this product cost 11,62€.
Tricks to differentiate a real discount from a fake one in AliExpress
First option: Register to AlixBlog Live for free, add all the products that you are interested in and see price fluctuations (currently only in Spanish, but its quite self explanatory).
Second option: On Friday swing by our 11 11 article and use the price checker that we are preparing. Basically, just add the URL of the product and if we have it stored in our bata base it will tell you the % price change vs the lowest price that the product has been at.
Third option: Again, swing by the 11 11 post and take a look at our discount finder. Just write down the name of the product you are looking for and we will only show you the products in AliExpress on the 11 11 that are cheaper than usual. We recommend it, we are finding products that cost up to 70% less than the lowest price we found.
Conclusions of the experiment
All in all both sides are actually right: on one hand users complaints about suden price surges and on the other AliExpress saying that it is temporary and that on the 11 11 there would be great discounts. In addition if you have been participating in the AliExpress activities we are sure that you must have won some 11 11 coupons to use during the shopping festival and spend on products that already have discounts.