It’s the biggest shopping holiday in the world, dwarfing our combined Black Friday/Cyber Monday annual spending extravaganza - and you’ve probably never heard of it.
It’s China’s Singles Day, November 11th. The date 11/11 was reportedly chosen because the numbers resembled “four lonely sticks”.
"The ever-bigger Singles Day, held on Nov. 11 every year, was created by a group of young Chinese in the 1990s. It began as a way to celebrate single life and has become known as China's anti-Valentine's Day. As the holiday acquired nationwide popularity, Alibaba in 2009 became the first major company to monetize it, by launching a special online sale. Alibaba effectively transformed the day into the world's biggest 24-hour online shopping event, one that reflects the growing wealth of China's middle class."
Just how big is it?
In 2015, it took only 90 minutes for Singles Day to generate more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2014 - combined! The statistics below are staggering!
- $14.3B in total sales (60% increase over 2014 sales)
- $1.4B in sales in the first 8 minutes
- 120,000 estimated orders - per minute
- 71% of purchases were made on mobile devices
Getting in on the action
U.S. retailers are looking for a piece of the pie; with some promoting Singles Day promotions to the US market and some using Alibaba to access buyers in China.
Last year, Walmart, Bloomingdales, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade and other retailers promoted Singles Day Sales, hoping to cash in.
According to Bloomberg, retailers like Macy’s with no physical presence in China, are joining Costco Wholesale Corp. and others, offering promotions via Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Tmall.com for the annual shopping bonanza.
Retail Dive reports that "western brands like Zara, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus all held sales and reaped benefits that same day."
Expecting Continued Growth
U.S. News notes that China's growing middle class is creating unprecedented consumer demand and growing potential.
"Americans have typically been renowned for their ability to spend and the relative strength of the country's middle and even lower classes compared to other parts of the world. But China's collective shopping sprees are now blowing America's out of the water as more consumers in China's massive population pool upgrade to the middle class."
Alibaba President, Michael Evans, told reporters in 2015.
"Within the next five years, we expect China will become the world's largest e-commerce market for imported products."