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Alibaba's Singles Day is a shopping extravaganza of the highest order

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

Nov 12, 2020

Retail

China’s Singles Day, also known as 11.11 or Double 11, started in 1993 at Nanjing University as a day for students to celebrate their singledom. In 2009, Alibaba transformed the holiday from an “anti-Valentine’s Day” for Chinese singletons to the “11.11 Global Shopping Festival,” which now also sees JD.com participate with its own multi-day event culminating on November 11.

What Singles Day really is, is a shopping extravaganza of the highest order. It is extremely profitable, with 583,000 orders per second at its peak securing 74.1 billion dollars in sold merchandise. It is by far the world’s biggest 24-hour online sale, with both Alibaba and JD each achieving profit levels higher than U.S. Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

While fashion takes just 10 percent of the merchandise pie, Singles Day has become a testing ground for new innovative technologies like virtual livestreaming hosts.

During the 24-hour shopping window on November 11, more than 16 million products were on sale on Tmall from over 250,000 brands. Among these goods, over three million were new offerings for the second sales phase and more than one million accounted for restocks of first-round best-selling products that got restocked as brands re-arranged inventories globally to fulfil the high demand in China.

According to Coresight Research, as of 12:35am on November 11, 13 brands had each achieved GMV of 1 billion yuan(148.7 million dollars)), and 342 brands had each exceeded GMV of 100 million yuan (14.9 million dollars) on Tmall, including Adidas, Apple, Estée Lauder, Haier, Huawei, Lancôme, L’Oréal, Midea, NIKE and Xiaomi.

The success of Singles’ Day has caught the attention of the West, with many global retailers across the US, Europe as well as Southeast Asia, Russia and Brazil all offering bargains.

High demand for international brands

According to Coresight, demand for imported products on Tmall Global saw a growth of 47.3 percent in General Merchandise Value (GMV) over 2019, as the pandemic has prevented shoppers from traveling to and from China. 180 overseas brands each recorded GMV of over 10 million yuan (1.5 million dollars), with beauty the most popular imported product category.

The only fashion brand to score in the top 10 imported brands is Emporio Armani from Italy.

Image and article source: Coresight Research