5. November 2018 | Chapter China, Retail Marketing, Shopping Today

For e-commerce in China Singles Day is like Easter, Christmas and Valentine’s Day in one day for Western retailers: a mega business. What was called into life for single students at a university in Nanjing on 11 November 1993 and designed to help them find partners at parties and karaoke events has long taken a life of its own.  

The idea of Chinese retailers to cash in on the Day for Singles – who naturally do not have to take care of a family and accordingly have money to spend – by discount campaigns not only works ever so well but also makes 11 November the highest-revenue online shopping day worldwide.

The highest turnover on Singles Day is accounted for by online giant Alibaba. In 2017 it generated sales worth Yuan 168 billion (approx. EUR 22 billion) with 174.000 orders taken in per second and in excess of 710 million sold products. With these figures Alibaba exceeded Ebay’s total annual turnover in one single day. Specifically for that day the online trader had equipped more than 600,000 corner shops with new computer systems simply to have its parcels shipped there. By comparison: Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day taken together generate 47% of the sales made by Alibaba on Singles Day.

West follows Suite  

After most Asian countries have already followed the Chinese example and are intoxicated with a real shopping fever on 11 November each year, this wave is now also sweeping more and more Western countries. Singles Day is also getting increasingly established in Germany. This year will see such companies as Amazon, Douglas, Hunkemöller or Media Markt join the “mark-down marathon” and experts expect even more shops to follow their example in future. A dedicated website www.singles-day.online already provides an overview of a wide variety of Singles Day discounts for the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany now.


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