Looking back on China’s Singles’ Day Splurge

Alibaba employees celebrate total online sales revenue of 91 billion RMB or 14.3 billion USD on Singles Day

Alibaba employees celebrate total online sales revenue of 91 billion RMB or 14.3 billion USD on Singles Day

The numbers are in. It seems Alibaba’s initiative to get the country’s lonely feeling special has worked wonders.

In the 24hr period Alibaba Group reported that 91.2 billion Yuan, or $14.3bn was spent.

This is especially impressive given that last year’s takings were nothing but a measly 57 billion Yuan, a figure that was passed eleven minutes before it had turned noon.

Taking place on 11/11, the aptly named Singles’ Day is entirely the creation of university students in the early nineties. The holiday has come along way from its humble Nanjing University origins and is now a nationally recognized day in no small part due to the workings of business magnate Jack Ma.

Jack Ma at Alibaba's annual event.

Jack Ma at Alibaba’s annual event.

If you haven’t heard of Jack Ma, there’s probably a rather large rock balancing perilously above your head. Ma’s highly diverse company Alibaba contains many platforms within which online sales are made. Chief of which is the online shopping site Taobao.com, one of the twenty most visited sites on the net. Taobao features nearly a billion products and is where the majority of the sales were made.

The day has gained enough recognition to draw Hollywood stars to help advertise the spend-a-thon. Daniel Craig of James Bond fame recently was spotted on-stage with Jack Ma, tying in with the recent huge opening of new Bond film Spectre in Chinese theatres.

Daniel Craig poses with Jack Ma ahead of Singles’ Day and the China Spectre launch. Photograph: China Daily/Reuters

Other online retail platforms have also reported astounding takings. Jingdong.com, an Alibaba rival took in more than 20m transactions by 5pm. A Nielsen survey claimed that 87% of people surveyed were planning on taking part in Singles’ Day’s purchasing fun. As of 2015 100% of people were aware of online platforms, whilst 56% said they intended to spend more than last year. KPMG have had similar results for year round spending habits online. Use of mobiles has increased as well with 67% or respondents claiming they’d use WeChat to share information regarding Singles’ Day sales.

Singles’ Day is big and it’s here to stay. With 59% of people using both mobiles and computers to do their annual splurge, the Chinese holiday makes America’s Black Friday pale in comparison.

The only way to keep with the trends is fully understanding the way brands propagate through social media. To keep ahead of the trends, find out more about how brands succeed on Chinese social media from Resonance China’s China Social Branding Reports.

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Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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