The date you may not be familiar with, but the name you certainly should be - Singles’ day, China’s biggest single online shopping day. The 11th November event posted some staggering numbers last year, with $2 billion of sales reported in the first 17 minutes, and over $14 billion in sales for the day overall. Put into context, the busiest online shopping days in the US and UK (Cyber Monday and Black Friday), experienced sales in the region of $3.0 billion and $1.5 billion respectively.
This year’s event is expected to be bigger than ever, and one that Alibaba hope will for the first time reach beyond the boundaries of the Chinese market. The initiative this year is the ‘buy globally, sell globally’ mantra, making the event and Alibaba’s Tmall platform a gateway for global brands to reach a new wealth of Chinese shoppers. Expanding into Hong Kong and Taiwan with dedicated local offerings for the first time, just how long before 11/11 is a global phenomenon? The ‘shopping festival’ will run from the 21st October and culminate with a festival gala headlined by Katy Perry on the 10th November.
More than just a flash sale event. Highlights of this years’ activities include an 8-hour fashion show live streamed across Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao apps, featuring over 50 International brands and 160+ models. With hundreds more International brands offering exclusive live stream broadcasts in the run up to 11/11. And possibly the world’s first virtual reality shopping experience, Buy+. Where shoppers will be able to virtually experience a visit to one of the participating International retailers’ flagship stores from the comfort of their own homes.
Clearly Chinese shoppers are technically savvy, and quick adopters of the latest electronic tools at their disposal. It should therefore come as no surprise that 75% of all sales via the Alibaba platforms are made on mobile devices. Shoppers are also highly engaged on local social commerce platforms such as WeChat and Weibo, sharing information on their shopping experiences, satisfaction, and where to find the best deals.
With $8.99 trillion in ecommerce sales expected to come from China this year, representing almost half (47%) of all sales worldwide. There is huge opportunity for globally recognized brands and retailers to break into the far-eastern market, and what better way than on the busiest shopping day of the year.