If you live in the U.S. (and many other places), you may be unaware of Singles’ Day. This annual event, from China’s Alibaba, falls on November 11 each year (11.11). Singles’ Day 2017 will set new records.
Before we examine expectations for 11.11.2017, let’s describe what Singles’ Day is.
The Phenomenon of Singles’ Day
Due to its immense success, we discussed Singles’ Day evolution in 2015 and 2016. For easy reading, we meld content from these two posts in this section. 2016 China-Based Singles’ Day to Dominate Global Holiday Season. China-Based Singles’ Day Dwarfs Cyber Monday Sales (2015).
These are highlights from the posts:
Each year, Alibaba runs a Singles’ Day on November 11 targeted at final consumers. As The Street reported. “It is the biggest annual retail event. It beats Cyber Monday and Black Friday.”
What is Singles’ Day? According to the Telegraph, it started in the 1990s. “It was as an ‘anti-Valentine’s’ fete for Chinese single people. Students at Nanjing University celebrated their singledom. But it has spawned into the world’s biggest online shopping day. We can write November 11 as 11.11, or one-one-one-one. Alibaba (China’s Amazon equivalent) chiefs spotted the commercial opportunity in 2009. And it launched ‘Double 11’ deals just as online shopping started exploding. It was also a chance to boost sales in the lull between China’s Golden Week holiday in October and the Christmas season. When sales almost quadrupled the following year, Alibaba trademarked Singles’ Day. Some featured sales center around singledom, such as boyfriend pillows and single travel tickets. But now, the day is an all-inclusive shopping holiday.”
Knowledge@Wharton noted: “In just one day — November 11 — Alibaba Group generates many times the volume of Cyber Monday. Beyond offering consumers steep discounts, Alibaba unveiled a glitzy, star-studded TV show that aired on the eve of Singles’ Day to prompt viewers to snap up specials via their computer, tablet, smartphone or Internet-enabled TV or set-top box.”
Singles’ Day 2017 Will Set New Records
So, what do experts say about Singles’ Day 2017?
Alibaba “reported that it recorded sales totaling about $18 billion during the 24-hour event in 2016. For some context, consider that Black Friday online sales in the U.S. totaled $2.74 billion the same year — about one-sixth of the sales from Singles’ Day. Global consulting firm Oliver Wyman expects Alibaba to outdo itself again this year, projecting that sales on its E-commerce platforms will total $23 billion, a growth rate of 26% over 2016.”
However, “there are signs that consumers may be experiencing some festival fatigue. According to a recent AdMaster survey, 64% of digital buyers in China said they plan to make a purchase during the festival, down from 71% in 2016, and 84% in 2015. Yet, the potential for waning interest in Singles’ Day hasn’t deterred Alibaba from doubling down on the event. This year, the company began its marketing offensive in October, announcing that some 140,000 brands had been recruited to participate in the festival, which Alibaba is also attempting to rebrand as the ‘11.11 Global Shopping Festival’ lasting three weeks.”
“Including ‘global’ is particularly interesting, since Alibaba makes no secret of the fact that it hopes to entice shoppers in Europe — and even the U.S. — to take advantage of sales deals. Alibaba reports that consumers in some 200 countries participated in Singles’ Day last year.”
Click the image to visit Alibaba’s 11.11 Web page.