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12 November 2019 00:49

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Singles Day is China’s biggest shopping holiday.

Today, the holiday has transformed into a massive one-day shopping event thanks to the deft marketing tactics of Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba. The original idea behind the first Singles Day was to promote Alibaba's shopping marketplace Taobao, according to Forbes. Alibaba offered customers discounts up to 50 percent off from more than 25 merchants and generated about $7 million in sales at the end of the day — a fraction of what the shopping spree has brought in over the past few years. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, and the following year, Singles Day broke a Guinness World Record for the highest online sales revenue generated by a single company in 24 hours at $14 billion. The online event consistently generates billions of dollars annually for Alibaba, on a scale that makes American shopping holidays appear tame: This year's sales ended at $38.3 billion in gross merchandise value, surpassing last year's $30 billion record, according to CNBC.

Western brands and retailers have recognized this extreme buying power and hopped on the deals and discounts bandwagon in an effort to reap sales from American and Chinese customers alike. Brands like Adobe, Brooks Brothers, ASOS, and Estée Lauder have advertised and offered deals for the event this year, following the success of retailers in 2018. Urban Outfitters has also partnered with teen popstar Billie Eilish to release a Singles Day capsule collection and is offering 30 percent off all sale products online. This year, Taylor Swift was the headliner of the Singles Day concert in Shanghai, and Kim Kardashian promoted her cosmetics line alongside Chinese influencer Viya ahead of the holiday last week. Kardashian was also recruited to join a global influencers program spearheaded by Tmall Global, an online shopping platform owned by Alibaba, to introduce Chinese customers to popular international products.

Up to 78 percent of Chinese respondents surveyed by Alix Partners said they would avoid buying American brands for the holiday, and more than half cited national loyalty as their reason for the boycott. Retail experts are also hesitant about whether American customers would buy into the holiday, despite brands' growing enthusiasm toward Singles Day. While holidays provide an overarching incentive for customers to shop, it could be difficult for Americans to adopt yet another shopping holiday in between Prime Day in July and Black Friday in late November. It could take years before Singles Day solidifies itself as an online shopping holiday in the US. Or it could just be another addition to the list of fake national holidays that brands capitalize upon to sell a product or offer a random 30 percent discount. China's e-commerce giants have reported a total of almost £43bn in sales at the midway point of "Singles Day", the annual marketing event that has become the world's busiest online shopping day.

The current total means Chinese shoppers have been spending at a rate of nearly £500,000 per second across the day and has provided a temporary relief to retailers who fear a slowdown in consumer demand. It has been adopted by companies such as Alibaba, JD.com and Suning as a national shopping holiday over the past decade and launched this year with a gala headlined by pop star Taylor Swift. The event is similar to Black Friday in the US and involves retailers offering discounts on a diverse range of goods, such as smartphones, craft beer and health care packages. Last year, Alibaba reported Singles Day sales of 213.5 billion yuan (£24bn) – more than 13 times its average daily sales. In the battle of e-commerce shopping holidays, Alibaba's Singles Day is once again crushing Amazon's Prime Day. The Chinese retailer said it generated $13 billion in its first hour on Monday, a 32% increase from first-hour sales last year and nearly double Amazon's estimated sales during Prime Day in July.

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While Amazon did not disclose total sales from Prime Day, simply saying it was "once again the largest shopping event in Amazon history" with more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 combined, Internet Retailer estimated that Amazon raked in $7.16 billion globally on July 15 and 16. That was a significant increase from last year's estimated $4.19 billion in Prime Day sales, but it still pales in comparison to Singles Day. Now in its 10th year, the shopping extravaganza continues to garner significant business and solidify Alibaba as a dominant force in the e-commerce industry. Alibaba said it raked in more than $38.3 billion in sales this Singles Day, outpacing analyst estimates for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the US this year. According to Adobe Analytics, the post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend is expected to bring in $29 billion in online sales this year. In 2018, Black Friday and Cyber Monday reached record highs, with $6.22 billion and $7.9 billion in online sales, Adobe reported. Fashion and beauty brands have launched sales today to mark 'Singles Day', the latest pre-Christmas shopping event which you may never have heard of. Chinese retailer Alibaba has pushed the Singles Day shopping trend in both China and the USA and retailers in the UK are starting to join in. Last year Singles Day generated $30.8bn in sales world wide, surpassing the total spent on Black Friday, which is at the end of November. So whether or not your single, if you're looking to use the days to snap up bargains on beauty, fashion and tech, here are some of the retailers you can get discounts from today. Online fashion retailer Asos has not actually confirmed it will run a Singles Day offer, but it looks like it will. Sports and streetwear giants Adidas have Singles Day offers online. Superdrug's Singles Day sale is here. Boohoo is offering 25% off to Singles Day shoppers.