China’s November 11th “Single’s Day" Is Biggest Shopping Event In The World
In North America we are in awe of Amazon. CEO Jeff Bezos has city suitors from across the continent falling over themselves and each other to win the Amazon HQ2 project. But as big and as successful as Amazon is, its single day sales events pale by comparison to China’s Alibaba.
The holiday, which started as a day for unmarried Chinese to buy gifts for themselves, has become the biggest single shopping event in the world. In 2017, consumers bought a record $25.3 billion in merchandise during last year's Singles Day — surpassing the $19.62 billion spent between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. But the 2018 November 11th (Double 11 as it’s called) blew the existing record to bits by almost $6 billion. An astounding $30.8 billion dollars in sales was achieved in just 24 hours.
Amazon is cute by comparison…
In the past few years, Singles' Day has surpassed the transaction volume of both Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. The event has also far surpassed Amazon's Prime Day, which is the most similar to Singles' Day because it is also a 24-hour, online shopping event.
Amazon said it sold more than 100 million items during its Prime shopping holiday on July 16, with analysts estimating that consumers spent about $4 billion, by comparison. Alibaba sold 1 billion items. As one analyst puts it “Amazon is cute by comparison.”
$1 billion In Sales In 1 minute and 25 seconds
The 2018 event got off to a strong start with sales hitting $1 billion in one minute and 25 seconds. Just over an hour in, sales exceeded $10 billion (five minutes and 21 seconds faster than last year.) The number of delivery orders surpassed a billion.
Americans spent an estimated $8 billion on Black Friday both in physical stores and online, and Cyber Monday raked in about $6.6 billion, then add in an additional $4 billion for Prime Day. $18.6 billion combined for America, compared to $30.8 billion for China’s Alibaba on Single’s Day.
Massive Middle Class Sales Potential
To be fair, China's middle class at 560,000,000 people is significantly bigger than the total U.S. population and the country (China) is more technologically savvy.
You combine the size of the population, their sophistication, acceptance, and preference for mobile and it's not surprising that the U.S. and something like Prime Day's success will be substantially smaller.
China Is Proud And Strong
China’s economy may have slowed down over the past year but this event is an indication that China’s consumers are proud and supportive of their homegrown platform and very optimistic of what lies ahead. Before unleashing his next round of tariffs, US president Donald J. Trump would do well to give the trade issue a bit of consideration so he doesn't further alienate our friends in China and ignite a full blown trade war.