Single’s Day: The World’s Largest Online Shopping Holiday

Single’s Day, or Double 11, is China’s biggest shopping event of the year. With sales amounting to billions of dollars year after year, it is now considered the world’s largest online shopping spree. The annual 24-hour event is hosted by China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba on November 11.

Single’s Day is believed to have originated in 1993, where a group of university students decided to pick a date to celebrate “singlehood.” In 2009, Jack Ma turned the holiday into a huge day of consumerism by organizing a large-scale online sale on Taobao Mall (later renamed Tmall).

Single’s Day by the Numbers

In 2017, sales during the shopping extravaganza shattered records with its US$25.3 billion haul across Alibaba’s platforms. In over an hour from opening, sales had already reached US$10 billion. The 2016 record was broken 12 hours through when the number hit just shy of $18 billion. Combined online sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two biggest shopping events in the United States, in the same year did not even come close.

Over 140,000 brands participated in the shopping event, including major international brands like P&G, Estée Lauder and Nike. 15 million products were on sale, from electronic gadgets to clothing. The top selling ones are wellness and baby products, such as multivitamins, milk powder and diapers. Wine and spirits retailers have also reported a rise in sales during the shopping festival.

Opportunities for Businesses

The year after year success of Single’s Day proves that e-commerce in China will continue to prosper into the future. It is a huge opportunity for international companies to promote their brand and expand their reach in the country. In 2017, over 80,000 retailers from outside China sought to triple their sales by participating in the event.

The rise of China’s middle-class has opened a wide range of possibilities for foreign brands to sell their products in the market. Armed with disposable incomes, these consumers are drawn to premium merchandise, from imported alcoholic beverages to beauty products. Currently, Alibaba’s Tmall is host to more than 12,000 international brands, each catering to its 500 million monthly active users.

Since competition is fierce in China’s e-commerce market, businesses need a solid marketing plan to attract potential consumers. Product placement is essential, as online visibility correlates with bigger sales. Hence, choosing the right e-platform to host products is important. Chinese consumers are also known for conducting online research ahead of the event in order to find the best deals. Having dedicated social media campaigns help.

Chinese shoppers likewise choose retailers with better customer service and reviews. They go for those that offer not only great discounts on products, but also fast and efficient delivery services. This boosts brand loyalty, ensuring that customers will keep on coming back even if it is not Single’s Day.

Closing Thoughts on Single’s Day

There is no doubt that China’s online market is on an overall upward trajectory. By 2020, it is expected to account for about 60% of global e-commerce. Single’s Day’s outstanding sales revenue over the years is more than enough to convince businesses, both local and foreign, to try their luck in this competitive market.

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