What to Expect from 2018 Singles’ Day in China

Thought Black Friday was big? Think again.

China’s Singles’ Day — colloquially known as the biggest annual shopping extravaganza in the world — has become nearly four times the combined size of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are two of the biggest shopping days in the United States.

Although launched as a social activity at Nanjing University in 1993 to celebrate one’s solo status, Alibaba adopted the celebration as a commercial holiday, capitalizing on the Chinese saying, “If you can’t be with someone you like, you can at least be with something you like.”

And come Nov. 11, the mega-event will mark its 10th anniversary, with the e-commerce giant kicking off a festival that promises to be the “largest-ever in terms of scale and reach,” inviting hundreds of millions of consumers to shop across categories like clothing, accessories, beauty products, automobiles, home decor and other consumer goods.

“On the back of China’s explosive digital transformation, the festival’s astounding growth over the past decade has powered the steady growth of quality consumption sought by Chinese shoppers,” said Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang. “The evolution also showcases the development of the Alibaba ecosystem over time expanding well beyond e-commerce.”

In its first year, Alibaba’s fete brought in $7.8 million in gross merchandise value, growing to a whopping $25.3 billion in 2017. It’s the company’s first Singles’ Day after employing its “New Retail” strategy, which merges traditional and digital retail experiences via smart logistics, electronic payments and other technologies.

For this year’s festival, consumer platform Tmall is working with 180,000 brands from China and across the world. It also debuted a “see now, buy now” fashion show last weekend, followed by a gala on Nov. 10 in Shanghai’s Mercedes Benz Arena.

In addition to Tmall World, Alibaba-owned AliExpress and Lazada will host the shopping day across six countries in Southeast Asia.

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