The biggest online shopping day of the year around the world is Singles’ Day. It’s a Chinese celebration and retail event that comes around every year on the 11th of November. It started in China before the internet was ubiquitous and also offers hook for offline retail as well as the entertainment industry. But crucially it is a commercial opportunity for marketplace merchants selling in China.
To give you a sense of the scale of Singles’s Day, Alibaba shoppers bought items worth 168.2 billion yuan (US$25.4 billion) during the 2017 celebration. Number two ecommerce player in China JD.com held an eleven day shopping festival as well last year, which generated US$19.1 billion in sales. So between the two marketplace retailers, sales totalled a staggering $44.5 billion USD. The extent to which it in now ‘owned’ by Alibaba is demonstrated by the fact that they call it the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.
The date is significant and deliberate with 1 symbolising an individual on their own but the event is also used to celebrate people in relationships with 11 representing two individuals together.
One intriguing aspect of Singles’ Day is its tie-in with the entertainment world. A huge televised gala is held in the countdown to the sales commencing at midnight. (That’s last year’s event in the image above.) The event included stars including Nichole Kidman, Pharrell Williams and film star Fan Bingbing. But also received to a rapturous welcome was the Funder and CEO of Alibaba Jack Ma.
Whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Big Billion Day on Flipkart in India, an Amazon Prime Day somewhere in the world, manufactured sales promo events are a massive part of ecommerce. But how can you profit from Singles’ Day?
The obvious way is to have your goods available on any one of Alibaba’s various outlets such as Tmall or plug into JD.com, although it is likely too late to take advantage of the 2018 frenzy if you aren’t set-up on those marketplaces already. Despite Alibaba billing it as ‘global’, in the western world, the extravaganza is scarcely known about. But Chines shoppers do buy from overseas on the day with goods from Japan, the USA, Australia, Germany and South Korea being most popular.