Single’s Day Is The New Shopping Festival In China ... Thanks to Alibaba

November 11th has been recognized as Single’s Day in China due to endless marketing efforts from hundreds of companies ... but none more so than Alibaba and now the day is “so” sweet and “so” rewarding.

China Singles Day was created to be an anti-Valentine Day for single people to celebrate their pride (and hopefully meet someone else who is single). It’s also the time that singles reward and buy things for themselves, rather than others (like on Valentine’s Day).

For many young Chinese, their goal is to reward themselves with enough gifts that they don’t feel bad or care about being single.  Throughout the last 5 ~ 10 years, Singles Day has become a day that is increasingly be celebrated by young adults across the Asia Pacific region.

For Alibaba, Single’s Day in China is now a retail goldmine and this year the company generated USD $17.8 billion in just 24-hours.  Sales came through Alibaba’s two e-commerce platforms: the B2C site Tmall.com and C2C Taobao Marketplace.

This years sales figure represents a 32% jump over last year’s $14.3 billion in sales because of massive brand new shopping experiences offered for mobile and digitally savvy active users.  

Sales generated through mobile devices accounted for 83.55% of the total ($14.6 billion) and another $9.8 billion is from delivery orders. More than 14,000 international brand items were available to consumers and reached 30% of the total GMV.

Virtual reality also played an important role this year with Tmall’s Buy+ billed as the world’s first virtual reality mass shopping experience.  By using a cardboard VR headset, users could slip their smartphone into the headset and browse products from handbags to clothes and lingerie, and even have virtual models showcase the apparel and accessories on a catwalk.

Interactive games and partnership were introduced as well such as a Pokemon Go style mobile application that was designed to catch the Tmall cat mascot.  This game was designed to attract visitors to explore merchants by finding the Tmall cat that was hiding inside the merchant products. In return, customers could earn special prizes like free subscriptions to Alibaba Youku TV.

Alibaba has created a combination entertainment / shopping festival that has set a new global standard for other ecommerce events to try to emulate. There are several key take aways:

  • Create a self-love mindset that reminds customers that it’s okay to love, celebrate and reward themselves
  • Second, be mobile
  • Third, use VR and games to maximize the shopping experience

Alibaba is expecting to push their sales to $20 billion next year, and many brands are discussing how they can take advantage of the festival and adapt to the new generation’s mindset and shopping behaviors.   They are also looking to Alibaba’s partners such as Lazada to see if the “Single’s Day” model can be maximized in the Asia Pacific region.   Consumers in Asia are waiting.

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