11/11, or Singles’ Day, is a festival where unmarried singles respond to the true calling of the internet: online shopping. Last year, the cumulative online shopping hit an impressive total of $25 billion. This year, that total got beat after only 15 hours and 49 minutes of online frenzied activity online. The total hit a whopping $30.8 billion.
The $31 billion milestone is a 27% increase over 2017’s total of $25.3 billion and was achieved in part by the e-commerce giant’s expansion into in-store retail, combined with China’s large and tech-savvy middle class. This year, Singles’ Day achieved their first billion in one minute and 25 seconds. An hour later sales exceeded $10 billion and this was five minutes and 21 seconds faster than last year. The number of delivery orders surpassed a billion.
The rate of change has increased so quickly, comparisons between the years are being tallied in minutes and seconds. Efficiency matters and so does absolute fulfillment.
Everything E-Commerce in China has grown at impressive speeds even though Singles’ Day has actually slowed down a bit as a result of fierce competition online, coupled with a slowing economic growth. Regardless, $31 billion in less than 16 hours dwarfs Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales of last year which only amounted to $11 billion. The largest e-tailer in the US, Amazon, reported selling 100 million items, racking up an estimated $4 billion during its Prime Day in July 2018. And Alibaba’s Singles’ Day has a great deal of start power. Last year, Nicole Kidman and Maria Sharapova opened the event; this year, Mariah Carey and Miranda Kerr made appearances.
The Psychology of Singles’s Day
Regardless of the state of the economy or the trade war with the US, the 600 million tech-savvy consumers want to get online and make purchases from the 180,000 merchants who are making them delectable offers. Consumers in China are more tech savvy and find the online shopping experience much more convenient coupled with the fact that there is strong, reliable infrastructure to manage the massive supply chain required to make deliveries end-to-end. Having said that, there are other players that will continue to innovate or just replicate what 11/11 is doing for the customer. Alibaba’s direct competitor, JD, is growing quickly to build its own brand and activities online.
Singles’ Day in 2018 was super. Singles’ Day in 2019 will look quite different.
Fun Fact about 11/11: Singles Day, which occurs on 11/11 every year, started in the 1990s as an unofficial holiday on Chinese university campuses. The date, when written as 11/11, looks like the Chinese expression for “bare branches,” a term that describes bachelors.