Last year, we wrote about the phenomenally successful 2015 online Chinese Singles’ Day, an annual event scheduled for November 11 that dwarfs Cyber Monday, which occurs on the first Monday after Thanksgiving each year. As reported by The Street: “Singles’ Day is the biggest retail event in the year, beating Cyber Monday and Black Friday.”

What is Single’s Day? As recently described by Lauren Davidson, Emily Allen, and  Ashley Armstrong for the Telegraph:

“Singles Day started as an obscure ‘anti-Valentine’s’ celebration for single people in China back in the 1990s, but it has spawned into the world’s biggest online shopping day. Astute readers will notice that November 11 is written 11.11, or one-one-one-one. Known in China as ‘bare sticks holiday’ because of how it looks numerically, Singles Day began as an anti-Valentine’s Day in the 1990s when students at Nanjing University started celebrating their singledom. It was then adopted by E-commerce giant Alibaba (China’s Amazon equivalent) in 2009; and it is now a day when everyone, regardless of their single status buys themselves gifts.”

“Alibaba chiefs spotted the commercial opportunity in Singles Day back in 2009 and began launching ‘Double 11’ deals just as online shopping was starting to explode. It was also seen as a chance to boost sales in the lull between China’s Golden Week national holiday in October and the Christmas season. When sales almost quadrupled the following year, Alibaba trademarked Singles’ Day. Some of the featured sales center around singledom, such as boyfriend pillows and single travel tickets, but the day has now widened to an all-inclusive shopping holiday.”

Angela Doland, writing for Advertising Age about the 2016 Singles’ Day, notes that:

“Alibaba’s annual online shopping festival started with just 27 merchants taking part. It has grown into the world’s biggest shopping day, and has just smashed its own record, with sellers on its platforms logging nearly $17.8 billion in transactions in 24 hours. Over 11,000 foreign brands joined in [from more than 25 countries], including first-timers Apple, Sephora, Target, Victoria’s Secret, and Maserati.”

“The Chinese Internet giant has created a whole entertainment offering around its shopfest, including a 4-hour live-streamed variety show that drew stars like Scarlett Johansson, Kobe Bryant, and David and Victoria Beckham. That’s a surprising departure from its small-scale start in 2009, when Alibaba latched on to the fact that some Chinese college students were celebrating Nov. 11 as a day for singles, an anti-Valentine’s day. Other E-commerce firms have joined in, including Alibaba’s chief rival, and much of China shops on Nov. 11. It’s not just for singles anymore.”

How well did the 2016 Single’s Day just do? It has crushed last year’s revenues — going from $14.3 billion in 2015 to $17.8 billion in 2016. Here are a sales curve (reported by BBC News) since online giant Alibaba first embraced Single’s Day in 2009 and a 2016 video from CCTV News.


17 Replies to “2016 China-Based Singles’ Day to Dominate Global Holiday Season”

  1. It’s interesting to see that America hasn’t adopted a similar shopping day, while our Amazon does have the Amozin Prime day sales, it is exclusive to those who already pay for Amazon prime or are willing to create several free trail accounts. I found it also interesting how in such a short time the national Chinese holiday was able to expand, perhaps because singles day is a reflection on the issue of female to male ratio in China with 700 million men and 667 million women?

  2. It’s interesting to see the different meanings of different days for various countries. I actually started to draft a blog post because I have celebrated this “holiday” with some of my friends. In Korea, it started out just as a gift exchange between girl friends, but now it has become widespread and a confectionary company called Pepero has capitalized on this. Pepero has used social media marketing to target those who are either of Korean heritage and/or has interest in Korean culture. It’s interesting and not surprising anymore how different cultures have taken these cultural meanings and turned it into something to capitalize it upon.

  3. The economy in China for the past one year has made Chinese purchasing power parity went down, but Alibaba still achieved a higher record comparing with last year. Apparently, Alibaba has done a great job of its event marketing. I think the next step for Alibaba is to develop the potential market in rural areas of China. There is seven hundred million population in rural areas China and more and more of them have purchased smartphones. According to the record from Alibaba, 80% of their orders are made by smartphones, so I believe Alibaba will make another record of its GMV next year if they are doing well on rural market developing.

  4. Yeah, this is what I talked about in the last post. The sales volume of Tmall reached ¥10 billion (about $1.5 billion) at 00:06:58 am on Nov.11th. Compared to that, three years ago, in 2013, it cost about 6 hours to reach ¥10 billion. Some of my peers also purchased something on TAOBAO that day even they are in the US. It is unbelievable but it is the reality. Chinese online shopping industry is increasing rapidly with an incredible growth rate.

  5. Due to the female to male ratio, there will be more single males in China. Therefore we has invented this special holiday for single consumers crazy shopping. Labeling the price in an extremely low one or holding flash sales. Using these methods to get consumers involved. This year, Alibaba has generated 120.7 billion RMB revenues in a single day compared to last year’s 91.2 billion RMB. Marketers cleverly use this holiday and change it into a shopping craze. It is indeed a great market selling method.

  6. Actually, before Single’s Day, many E-commerce companies will release commercials to get awareness. You can find many interesting ads. For example, in China, “1” has a similar pronunciation with “want”, so E-commerce companies always apply this point in their creative strategies to encourage customer to purchase on Single’s Day.

  7. This is a great example of how marketing can work towards your advantage. Let’s face it, many people love the idea of shopping so if you give them an excuse to shop, they will take it. For example Black Friday is an enormous day of shopping where many stores get huge profits from it. Yes, there are very good deals in some stores but overall some of the stuff is the same price as any other day. It is the concept of going on that day that attracts people. This is what happened with Single’s Day and China has marketed it well and has used it to their advantage.

  8. How amazing it is! When I went to college five years ago, the Single’s Day was first introduced to us and made it well known across China. Although it was launched in 2009, it had become a new purchase trend for online customers. Now, Alibaba creates nearly $17.8 billion in transactions in 24 hours on the Single’s Day. We can see that Chinese online shopping is is increasing rapidly.

  9. The economic situation in China for as long as one year has made Chinese obtaining power equality went down, however Alibaba still accomplished a higher record contrasting and a year ago. Obviously, Alibaba has made an incredible showing with regards to of its occasion advertising. I think the following stride for Alibaba is to build up the potential market in rustic regions of China. There is seven hundred million populace in provincial regions China and more of them have obtained cell phones. As indicated by the record from Alibaba, 80% of their requests are made by cell phones, so I trust Alibaba will make another record of its GMV one year from now in the event that they are doing great on country advertise creating.

  10. After the Singles’ Day, CEO of Alibaba Group, Daniel Zhang has been interviewed by reporters. He said their company pays more attention on the quality rather than the quantity. I agree with his point very much. He said the gross merchandise volume (GMV) doesn’t mean everything. The core thing is customers’ experience. The service and the logistics are more important for them. They pay close attention on the number of web visitors, web using durations, and how many customers joined the interactions. These are their KPIs. I think in this way, they can offer a better service and experience for the customers, and become more competitive in the future.

  11. I think what really surprises me about this post is the graph showing the rise of Single’s Day in China from Alibaba. It really shows what kind of effect the internet is having on our world. Its amazing to see that in 2009, this was something that was not a part of Single’s Day and is now making such a significant impact.

  12. I found this article to be very interesting and I am wondering why there isn’t a day equivalent to Single’s Day in the United States, I feel like that could potentially be a successful holiday here in the US. One of the most interesting facts is that this holiday was started by Alibaba and eventually it caught on with other retailers. This proves just how powerful Alibaba is and the example it sets in the industry. I think Amazon is the equivalent to Alibaba and I wonder if they would be able to achieve the same.

  13. Alibaba transfers a playful, informal festival into a phenomenally national shopping frenzy. The single’s day perfectly fills out the shopping blank between the Mid-Autumn Festival and the New Year’s Day. With Alibaba becomes more influential, the sales of “Double 11” increased dramatically, from $0.07 billion in 2009 to incredible $17.8 billion in 2016. Spotting and even creating new opportunities are what make Alibaba a successful company. Behind this success, there is a big problem—logistics. The logistics system used to be defective. People made a purchase on Nov. 11, but received their packages two weeks or even one month later, which made customers highly unsatisfied. This year, Alibaba upgraded its logistics system, 15.7% of customers received their packages within three days, and 65% of customers received their packages within five days, but there are still 19.3% of customers received their packages longer than five days. Although Alibaba already has done a pretty good job, there is still room for improvement.

  14. Tabao Chinese single day sale might be the most successful marketing strategy i have seen in China. Me, personally bought a lot stuff from Taobao during single day sale. I compared it with Black Friday sale, some of the item in single day sale is even cheaper than black Friday sale. But shipping is a big problem tho.

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