What started in the 1990s in China as an anti-Valentine’s Day remains the world’s biggest shopping day of the year – and although regulatory review muted part of the Singles Day celebration, consumers still came in droves to buy from e-commerce merchants.
Alibaba launched the first Singles’ Day Shopping Festival in 2009, linking it to China’s informal holiday celebrating people who are not in a relationship. Since then, the promotion has exploded to become the biggest global trade event of the year, with nearly every global e-commerce company joining the action, including direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies such as MeUndies, based in the United States. The event also went from a single day – November 11 – to a series of days. This year, many sales started on October 31st.
Alibaba said nearly 400 brands, including Apple and L’Oreal, recorded more than $ 15 million in sales each during the Singles Day event this year, although the company has not released a more detailed sales figures than in previous years. Rival JD.com said it has achieved nearly $ 49 billion in sales so far, according to CNBC, and Southeast Asian e-commerce company Zalora expects record revenue when the event.
Last year, consumers spent more than $ 74 billion on Alibaba’s online shopping platforms during the 11-day festival, in part thanks to demand from Europe and other markets. beyond China. Singles Day 2020 has also been extended from a one-day event to an 11-day occasion.
Read more: Singles Day orders in Europe helped Alibaba break sales records
For comparison, during Amazon’s 48-Hour Prime Day event in June, ecommerce sales in the United States totaled more than $ 11 billion, with buyers in 20 countries purchasing more than 250 million dollars. ‘articles at the Seattle-based e-commerce company.
Also see: Online sales topped $ 11 billion at Amazon Prime Day event
The Digital Yuan
Notably, JD.com first accepted the Chinese digital yuan, or e-CNY, on its e-commerce platform during the shopping event, giving 15 yuan ($ 2.34) to spend if the consumer downloads china digital currency app. JD.com is collaborating with China Construction Bank on this initiative.
The digital yuan has not been officially rolled out nationwide, but JD’s decision to accept it at the world’s largest trade event is a key milestone as China’s central bank seeks to test e-CNY on a larger scale. Over 100,000 people used e-CNY on the JD app during the Singles’ Day event.
Chinese officials last week said digital yuan usage reached 140 million individual accounts and 10 million corporate accounts. Pilot programs in more than 10 regions using digital currency reached 62 billion yuan, or about 9.7 billion dollars, with a transaction volume totaling 150 million.
More details: Central Bank of China: 10 million companies, 140 million people using the digital yuan
From December to June, 450,000 customers used e-CNY on the JD app, spending a total of 100 million yuan (about $ 15.6 million), according to the latest figures released by the company.
Navigate the obstacles
Alibaba typically hosts a massive gala before November 11 that features performances by stars such as Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, but COVID-19 outbreaks in parts of China have prompted the company to broadcast the party live instead. .
Alibaba has also publicly placed emphasis on sustainability and inclusiveness – themes that align with Beijing’s priorities – after being fined $ 2.8 billion for violating antitrust rules. The Chinese government has stepped up surveillance of the tech sector to end practices that violate consumer rights.
This year’s Singles Day comes amid bottlenecks in the global supply chain, causing delays for many consumer goods and leaving some traders struggling to secure their inventory. For some, that has meant cutting back, if not completely forgoing, traditional holiday promotions as they attempt to balance sales with profits.
Related news: Discounts harder to find amid supply chain bottlenecks
PYMNTS recently reported that out-of-stock messages were up 172% from January 2020, and Walmart, Costco and Home Depot all said the lack of inventory made it easier to keep prices higher as shoppers are willing to pay more knowing that supply is constrained.