Singles Day in China and What US Retailers Can Learn

“Singles” day in China, similar to Valentines day elsewhere, used to just be a day to get random gifts for friends or go out to eat. However, Jack Ma of Alibaba had a grander vision. He saw what Amazon and other online retailers were able to do with Cyber Monday and decided to capitalize. Fast forward a few years, this past Singles Day raked in a whopping $18 Billion in Sales.

This year’s strong showing – a 32% increase from the previous year – shows the staying power of what has now become a cultural phenomenon.

Similar to Cyber Monday, Singles Day’s consumerism is almost exclusively relegated to online, but unlike Cyber Monday consumers focused heavily on luxury goods. In fact, Chinese consumers make up 40% of the world’s luxury shoppers.

Here’s the breakdown of items purchased over Singles Day:

  1. Beauty – 54%
  2. Apparel – 34%
  3. Electronics – 8%
  4. Home Goods – 7%

The name Singles Day is a bit of a pun, as it falls out on November 11th (11/11), but the amount of spending that happens on that date is no joke. As Black Friday and especially Cyber Monday continue to move shoppers towards online, US retailers should take some notes on how Alibaba was able to revive a little known “Holiday” and turn it into massive revenues.

Raanan Cohen

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