World’s Biggest Online Shopping Event: Singles’ Day

Thanks to online shopping becoming more popular and global marketing strategies taking over the world of shopping, we are all used to running after the hottest deal on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Whether it be waiting in endless lines before the checkout, emptied aisles in stores or online shopping platforms breaking down because of the online shopping craze, we have seen it all. We know what a massive shopping event Black Friday is, but we have a newcomer that is ready to take the throne; Singles’ Day.

Taking place on November 11 every year, which represents four ones or four singles as in 11.11, Singles’ Day is a shopping event that has been more popular in China until a few years ago. Since the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba turned Singles’ Day into a massive hit like Black Friday, the sales volume on Singles’ Days have increased year by year. Thanks to the international competition in online shopping that continues to grow exponentially, Singles’ Day has now passed beyond the borders of China, becoming a shopping event that has taken over the world.

The Story Behind the Alibaba's Singles’ Day Deals

Starting off in 2009, the shopping event held by Alibaba was originally called Global Shopping Festival. The name “Singles’ Day” was introduced only in 2015. However, the story of Singles’ Day, which is widely celebrated in China, goes far back to 1993. And, the date 11.11 is a popular wedding day amongst Chinese couples, as well.

Another reason why this date is a good opportunity to encourage shopping is that it falls between the Chinese National Day and the Chinese New Year. With 11.11 being a date that is easy to remember, giant brands and e-commerce retailers soon realized the potential behind this marketing strategy and decided to adopt the Singles’ Day shopping trend. In time, Singles’ Day deals started to reach such a high sales volume that it overperformed Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2013, becoming the biggest online shopping event not just in China but in the whole world.

Recent History of Singles’ Day Sales

Singles’ Day deals get bigger and bigger every year thanks to Alibaba’s new partnerships with various brands, manufacturers and outlet stores as well as its huge investment in infrastructure such as delivery, payment options and international shipping. In recent years, Singles’ Day has seen an incredible increase in sales. Singles’ Day sales have increased from $17.8 billion in 2016 to $25.4 billion in 2017. With recent currency fluctuations and inflation rates taken into consideration, Singles’ Day sales have increased by 39% in 2017, which explains how big the shopping event has become in the recent years.

How about 11.11  in 2019?

November is an incredibly busy month when it comes to online shopping deals. We all know that it’s only a matter of weeks before Black Friday sweeps the nation with amazing shopping deals. However, it looks like Singles’ Day will be an earlier opportunity for customers to get the best shopping deals on 11.11. A brief look at the 2018 figures for Singles’ Day is enough to understand what is about to happen in the world of online shopping. 

Last year, Aliexpress set yet another Singles’ Day record with $31 billion in sales. As customers all around world lost themselves in online and in-store shopping deals, it took only about 15 hours for the volume of transactions to overpass that of 2017, which was around $25 billion. So, Singles’ Day was a great success for Alibaba last year, and it will probably be a whole new record in sales.

Even though 2018 was a great year for Aliexpress and the Singles’ Day sales in general, the increase rate in sales was the lowest that Alibaba had seen thus far. The 36% increase from 2016 to 2017 went back to 27% from 2017 to 2018. So, it is only a few days before we find out whether 2019 will be yet another year for Alibaba to break Singles’ Day records. However, it is fair to say that millions of customers around the world are getting ready to get the hottest deals of the year on November 11.


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