Just 10 years after the first Singles’ Day in China, the Nov. 11 extravaganza — the biggest day of shopping in the world by total gross merchandise value — is bigger than ever.
Conceptualized by Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang in 2009, the first event brought in $7.8 million. Last year’s gross merchandise value totaled $25.3 billion.
And this year’s 11/11 event will be even larger in scale, with more than 180,000 brands across China and the world signed up for participation.
Here’s what’s new this year:
Increased Global Reach
While Alibaba began Singles’ Day as a China-exclusive event, the e-tailer is taking things international this year. Customers will be able to score some of the year’s biggest discounts on Lazada, an Alibaba-run online shopping mall across six countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam).
Alibaba has also devised a new “Candy Jar” Mini Space Station to drive international interest in the hours leading up to Singles’ Day. The game allows customers globally to share their selfies with the space station through the AliExpress mobile app — and they can win coupons when the station moves over their country.
Just as Amazon.com has dipped its toe into the brick-and-mortar waters, Alibaba is adding a traditional in-store approach in hopes of upping its Singles’ Day earnings. Alibaba has tapped into Hema, a chain of supermarkets it owns. Around 100 Hema stores will unveil special 11/11-themed stores and offer loyalty points, red packets and discounts.
Revamped “See-Now, Buy-Now” Show
Well-known brands like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry have experimented with the see-now, buy-now approach — to mixed effect. While Alibaba’s see-now, buy-now fashion show has been held since 2016, the e-tailer is reaching for increased engagement this year. Alibaba has added an interactive “Play Now” element, which allows audience members to vote on their favorite looks during the four-hour show.
More Rural Engagement
While China’s population has become rapidly urbanized in the past few decades, one of Alibaba’s latest pushes is to engage more with rural consumers. The e-commerce giant is partnering with 30,000 Rural Taobao Service Centers, which will give out 110 million red packets in “scratch cards” for 11/11 this year.
What to Expect from 2018 Singles’ Day in China