Singles Day 2018: What did you buy?

by | November 21, 2018

Singles Day 2018: What did you buy?

November 21, 2018

The day after November 11th, there was one hot discussion topic in the 1421 office in the morning. Everyone had one question for each other: what did you buy yesterday? To people in the western world this may seem strange, however in China this is normal. November 11th is Singles Day, a holiday to celebrate being single. Traditionally, people went out to party on this day. However, in 2009, a smart guy in China invented a different way to celebrate this day: a shopping spree! Many of you will know the inventor of this tradition, it was Jack Ma, who is the founder of Alibaba, the biggest online retail platform in the world.


Size of Singles day

The shopping carnival originally started at T-mall on Taobao, which is a part of Alibaba’s retail platform. With the in-depth cooperation of the 27 online retail stores, this event stimulated the Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) to 50 million RMB in one day in 2009. Since then, November 11th, in China has become synonymous with the Singles Day Shopping Carnival.

Singles Day

With the huge growth over the last 10 years, Singles Day has become a global shopping event in e-commerce. In 2018, it was estimated that over 19,000 domestic and international brands joined in on Singles Day shopping. At the end of the day Singles Day 2018 had generated 213.5 billion RMB GMV.

Furthermore, people are not only buying more products, they are also making more use of services on Singles day. The international service platform, Koubei, has reached over 12 million transactions on November 11th. Through this App, Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hut, Baiguoyuan, Hollyland, Xibei restaurant, Lv Cha restaurant, etc. have become the most popular brands for users. During this day, Starbucks sold 100,000 cups of coffee through the APP, and KFC sold 340,000 dark chocolate ice cream cones.



Singles Day Logistics

To support such a large transaction volume a great logistics network is needed. Consequently, Singles Day has successfully pushed online payment technology and CEP industry to make massive progress in terms of technology, service quality and efficiency. Alipay managed to support millions of payments in such short timeframe. Each transaction can be processed within 1 second. Similarly, in the logistics sector, the parcel delivery companies have to handle over 1 billion pieces of parcels each day. Innovations in the automation and data support in technologies and equipment has made this a realistic and manageable number.

Through the Singles Day shopping, Alibaba gradually shifts its focus from pure figures, such as GMV, to creating a Digital Economy. The Digital Economy is an ecosystem across multiple sectors, including e-commerce, financial services, logistics, could computing and new retail. According to Jack Ma, Singles Day in the future will not only be about sales figures, it will be above all be seen as a promotion platform to showcase new products of the different industries in China.

This year’s Singles Day is the first full participation of Alibaba’s digital economy, including Tmall, Suning, Fresh Hema, Nongcun Taobao, Yintai Department Store, RT-Mart, Real Home, LST, ELE and Koubei. Moreover, Ali’s digital economy “operating system” connected more than 200,000 offline smart stores. Thanks to this connection, offline physical stores have opened up the “data islands” from products, transactions, membership, supply chain, payment, marketing and logistics for the first time. It thus becoming an important milestone of the world’s largest “digital economy festival”. It is also a starting point of new retail.

With the growing consumption power, China becomes one of the fastest growing markets in e-commerce. If you are interested to have more insights, please feel free to contact us.

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What happened in the year 1421?

From 1421 to 1423, during the Ming Dynasty of China under Emperor Zhu Di (朱棣) the fleets of Admiral Zheng He (鄭和), commanded by the Chinese captains, discovered Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Antarctica, the Northeast Passage; and circumnavigated Greenland.

Due to this endeavour we can conclude that “1421 is the year that the Chinese discover the world”.