While Singles Day is relatively unknown to the Western world, this year’s sales figures might be something to make you sit up and take note.
It started in China in 1991 where Singles’ Day was seen as something of an ‘anti-Valentine’s Day’ and an opportunity for singletons to celebrate their wanted, or unwanted, freedom.
But of course, where there’s chance to celebrate, there is chance to sell and in 2009 Chinese retailers began to offer Singles’ Day promotions, and like all the other holidays in the calendar, turned it into a major shopping event.
The date 11:11 was chosen, represented by the 4 solitary bare sticks of the numbers. The annual event kicks off on the midnight of 11 November and runs for 24 hours.
Here are 11 things to know about this years 11/11:
- This year marked the 10th Anniversary of Singles’ Day.
- It’s mainly driven by Alibaba-owned platform, Tmall.
- It starts with a national television gala with a countdown to the midnight start of Singles’ Day. This year Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, chose to debut his 22-minute short film featuring A-list Chinese actors, capturing between 150 to 200 million viewers.
- It’s the worlds biggest shopping day, bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday put together.
- This years sales broke yet another record, with more than $30.8 billion worth of goods through Alibaba, eclipsing last year’s record $25.3 billion.
- Alibaba said sales hit $10 billion in the first hour. It crossed the $1 billion milestone in just 1 minute 25 seconds.
- The company handled more than a billion orders.
- Success is partly down to the China’s growing middle class, expected to triple from 300 million to 850 million by 2030.
- But it’s mainly down to digital innovation making it easier to purchase online, with more Chinese people embracing the means of shopping.
- 40% of consumers purchased from an international brand including Japan, US, South Korea, Australia and Germany.
- Shoppers from outside of China can also take part, although the AliExpress platform is the only platform in English.