November 11 marks a huge shopping festival by Alibaba in China. Known as “Singles’ Day” or “11.11”, it is now acknowledged as the largest e-commerce day in the world. It is mainly on Alibaba platforms like Tmall and Taobao. Rival commerce sites such as JD.com and Lazada also run their own festival days during China’s long shopping season.
Singles’ Day 2019 saw another record year of sales reaching $23 billion (158 billion yuan) in nine hours. Sales hit $1 billion in the first minute and 500 million shoppers were expected to participate. This was achieved despite a slowdown in China’s economy and the ongoing trade spat with the US. Singles’ Day is three times bigger than the largest US largest shopping day – Cyber Monday which had $8 billion of sales in 2018.
Some numbers about Singles’ Day from Jing Daily.
- On 11.11, Alibaba sells more on one day than many countries do in a year.
- Alibaba founder Jack Ma has a plan for the company to attain $1 trillion of gross merchandise volumes in 2020 and create 100 million jobs, and serve 2 billion customers. As such the company is expanding in other countries. In 2017, Russia, Hong Kong and the US were the main markets.
- International brands are signing on with discounts and specials, and in 2018, 237 brands, including Apple, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Nestlé, Gap, Nike, and Adidas has sales of 100 million Yuan ($14 million) on Singles’ Day.
- The holiday was originally aimed at young men (bachelors), but has now evolved such that key targets for brands include China’s 400 million millennials, the “aspirational class” and women, the “she economy.”
- Over 80% of the Singles’ Day sales are made on a mobile device .. so retailers need to enhance the whole shopping experience by employing unique mobile features like live streaming, interactive games, virtual reality, video marketing, and digital storytelling.
- On Singles’ Day in 2017, 1.5 billion transactions were processed by Alibaba’s Alipay.
Kenya’s Safaricom, which has a partnership with AliExpress, also had some Singles’ Day promotions. They signed a deal in March this year enabling Kenyans to shop on ALiExpress and pay with M-Pesa.
The Jack MA Foundation runs an annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) that awards a total of $1 million in prize money to ten African entrepreneurs each year.
Read more about 11.11 from Jing Daily here.
EDIT: Alibaba reported that Singles’ Day 2019 generated US $38.4 billion of gross merchandise volumes. It featured 200,000 brands and resulted in 1.3 billion delivery orders.