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Singles’ Day – The world's biggest shopping event

Personal_Finance / Shopping Nov 02, 2020 - 04:43 PM GMT

By: Boris_Dzhingarov

Personal_Finance

The Singles’ Day shopping event is to the Chinese what Black Friday is to Americans. It is a time when steep discounts are an excuse to go wild and splurge. Millions of Chinese shoppers wait many months for the awesome Singles’ Day deals. This event is a signal for buyers to snag their most coveted products. Despite the event’s popularity in China, too few people outside the country know about it. It’s time to remedy that.


Participation

The Chinese celebrate Singles’ Day or "Double Eleven" every year on November 11. Chinese e-Commerce giants like Alibaba and JD.com host a 24-hour Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza. The event features massive discounts. Forbes reported in November 2019 that over 200,000 brands participate in the event. More than 19,000 of these are international brands. These include the likes of Nike, Adidas, Apple, Estee Lauder, Olay, Lancôme, Dyson, L'Oreal, Siemens, and Philips.

Origins

Singles’ Day is widely believed to be the brainchild of 4 single males who were students at Nanjing University in 1993. They reasoned that if couples get the annual Valentine’s Day, singles must have their share of fun too. These students set out to look for ways to celebrate being single. They brainstormed ideas and activities for singles to commemorate bachelordom. After some deliberation they decided on November 11 to celebrate Singles’ Day. The date is represented as 11/11, or four singles.

The trend quickly caught on in China, a country with a vast population of single, independent, young people. Retailers were quick to see the economic potential of the idea. Cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong saw extravagant events and activities being organized on Singles’ Day. There were singles’ parties, themed events, and shopping fairs. The most important reason for the Singles’ Day to have become a shopping mega event is Jack Ma-owned Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. It was Alibaba that created the first ever Singles’ Day online sale in 2009. This sparked a bold new trend that has only become stronger over the years.

Magnitude

What began in 2009 as a Chinese underdog to Black Friday and Cyber Monday has gradually transformed into a much bigger monster. Statista, a resource for market and statistical data, shows just how rapidly Single’s Day has grown over the years. Sales on Alibaba have seen a consistent 30-40% growth each year for the past 5 years (From $9.1 billion in 2014 to $38.3 billion in 2019).

Singles' Day 2019 was the biggest so far. American pop icon Taylor Swift performed at the event’s opening gala. Many prominent TV and cinema personalities were in attendance. In its November 2019 Press Release the Alibaba Group reported revenues of $38 billion from this single event. 2019 revenues were much higher than the $30 billion from 2018, and $25.4 billion from the year before. Data tracking service Adobe Analytics mentioned on November 12, 2019 that the sales generated on Alibaba ($38 billion) and JD.com ($29.1 billion) on Singles' Day 2019 were more than double the combined estimated retail sales of $29 billion during Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, and Black Friday for the same year.

Outside China

Millions of Chinese live and work outside China. They send money online to support their families in China. Like their resident compatriots they eagerly look forward to Singles' Day. International shoppers and retailers have taken notice of the event's potential. Consumers from countries like the US, the UK, India, and South Korea regularly partake in the shopping event. However, awareness among non-Chinese shoppers is still low. An online survey by TechCrunch in 2019 found that more than 70% of American shoppers have never heard of Singles’ Day.

Singles' Day 2020

This year the event may lose some of its momentum owing to the economic slowdown brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. It has been a major setback for many manufacturers and their production capacity. Most businesses had to downsize their workforce and seek monetary relief. MYBank, an Alibaba Group-affiliate, has offered loans for businesses to the tune of $2.86 billion.

There is no official word yet, either from Alibaba Group or JD.com, on whether there will be a Singles’ Day sale mega event in 2020. A MarketWatch report published as recently as August claimed that Alibaba plans to involve a few small and medium-sized businesses for its shopping event. It will be a virtual event which they are calling "Go Global 11.11 Pitch Fest". We expect that the Single's Day event will take place this year. Even with fewer sellers, buyers, and products on offer than last year, it will be nothing short of phenomenal. If economic recovery continues at its current pace, next year we expect the Singles' Day event to be bigger than ever.

Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.

© 2020 Copyright Boris Dzhingarov - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


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