China’s Singles Day Sales Tops $14.3B


It was another record-shattering shopping day in China on 11.11 when sales on Singles Day in China topped $14.3 billion.  What appears to be the Super Bowl of shopping, Singles Day holiday growth is credited to ecommerce giant Alibaba who had more than 10,000 international brands registered to participate this year. This is a huge increase; in 2009, there were only 27 merchants participating. While there were numerous global brands participating (i.e., Uniqlo, Adidas, Nike, Costco, Walmart, Amazon), the biggest winners were undoubtedly the Chinese brands.

New this year was a 3-1/2 hour television variety show that kept shoppers glued to their chairs and involved home shoppers even more deeply in the event. Seen as a combination of the Grammys, Oscars, game shows, home shopping network, and New Year’s Eve, sales reached $5.5 billion in the first 90 minutes, and surpassed $9.3 billion at the 12-hour mark.

Singles Day began decades ago as Bachelors Day, a Chinese holiday where single men shopped and partied to hold their blues at bay. In 2009, Alibaba put its might behind the day and turned it into a manufactured shopping holiday in China, going so far as to trademark the 11/11 name.

The next step – delivering 310 million packages!

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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