Singles’ Day, the Chinese antithesis of Valentine’s Day, celebrated its 10th anniversary by setting new e-commerce sales records on 11 November 2018, with the first $1bn racked up in an incredulous 85 seconds on Alibaba’s various sites. Jack Ma’s e-commerce companies drew in over $30bn in sales in just 24 hours, a spectacular increase of 27% in last year’s sales.
The discount online shopping festival has been popular in China since 2009, encouraging the unattached to treat themselves with gifts. Also known as ‘Double Eleven’ or ‘11:11’, it takes place annually on 11 November, with the digits representing ‘single sticks’. Previously popular mainly among young adults, the zany festival has become a multibillion-dollar industry, with Alibaba expanding the event to other countries.
- Singles’ Day is the largest online shopping day in the entire world, bigger than the Black Friday/Cyber Monday combo
- Alibaba shoppers spent $30.8bn by the end of the first day, up 27% from last year’s $25.4bn, setting a new sales record in e-commerce
- Alibaba accumulated sales of $1bn within 85 seconds of the event, climbing to almost $10bn by the end of the first hour
- Most purchases were made via Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms, Tmall (B2C) and Taobao (C2C)
- They were further boosted by Alibaba’s move into ‘new retail’ with retail units and other stores acting as collection points
- Last year, Alibaba brought the event to the global market with AliExpress and Lazada, its international e-commerce sites
- Other Chinese e-commerce retailers also take part in the promotion, including JD.com which itself netted over $23bn (so it’s not just all about Alibaba)
- Big global brands were winners, with Apple, Dyson and Xiaomi among the 180,000 brands available for purchase during the event
- Keen to spark a similar explosion in sales, Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015 which generated $1bn this year.
Bloomberg: How Singles Day Became the Biggest Shopping Spree Ever
The Drum: JD.com Achieves £23bn Record Sales on Singles Day
BBC News: Alibaba Singles Day Sales Frenzy Surpasses Records