China’s Singles Day Sales Tops $9.3B


It was a record shattering shopping day in China on 11.11 when sales on Singles Day topped $9.3 billion!  The shopping holiday growth is credited to ecommerce giant Alibaba who had more than 27,000 merchants registered to participate this year. This is a huge increase in only five years; in 2009, there were only 27 merchants participating. In a day that broke records, perhaps the most important statistic is that roughly 43% of all purchases were made on mobile devices.

While there were global brands participating (such as Uniqlo, Adidad, Costco, Walmart, and even Amazon) the biggest winners were undoubtedly the Chinese brands. Chinese smartphone company Xiami alone generated $163 million in sales before noon. (Compare this with Xiami’s sales last year at $89.9 million for the entire day.)

Singles Day began decades ago as Bachelors Day, a Chinese holiday where single men shopped and partied to hold their blues at bay. But in 2009, Alibaba put its might behind the day and turned it into a manufactured shopping holiday in China. Sales have increased more than 5,000% from 2009 to 2014. Can it go higher?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the growing importance of Singles Day in China. Discuss the implications for U.S. companies.
  2. Show videos about Singles Day and Alibaba:

  1. Also, show Alibaba, Taobao, and Tmall Web sites. (There are translators for the sites.)
  2. Discuss the growth of mobile devices for shopping. What are the implications for companies?
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team select an ecommerce site and develop and outline for how the site can be effective on mobile devices.

Source: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, CNBC., Ad Age Daily, other news sources

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