7 things you need to know about Singles’ Day

The Chinese retail event is set to go global as western brands want a piece of the massive sales

Set to become the new Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, the Singles’ Day retail event is gathering pace in China with huge sparks in retail sales. It’s going to go global; here’s what you need to know:

  1. Originating in Nanjing University in 1993 Singles’ Day was originally celebrated at various universities in the Chinese city during the 1990s. The date, 11/11, was chosen as the 1 is symbolic of singledom.
  2. Alibaba Group launched the retail event in 2009 and trademarked the Chinese characters for ‘Double 1′ in December 2012. The Singles’ Day retail event encourages single people to treat themselves.
  3. Dom Joseph, CEO of Captify, the leading insights-driven advertising technology company, predicts UK retailers will seize the opportunity to make Singles’ Day a global retail event. He says, “Top British brands, who have already jumped into the online retail market in China for Singles’ Day, such as Marks & Spencer, have seen huge sales surges and are already reaping the rewards that the day offers.”
  4. Sports stars David Beckham and Kobe Bryant attended the countdown to today’s event, although headline act Katy Perry pulled out at the last minute citing a “family” issue.
  5. Today (11/11/16) Alibaba’s sales have already surpassed $5 billion in the first hour. In a live microblog, Alibaba’s chief executive Daniel Zhang said, “Back in 2013, 35 billion yuan ($5.14 billion) was our one-day gross merchandise volume, now we can achieve it in one hour.”
  6. So far this year, 83% of Alibaba’s sales were from mobile devices.
  7. Gross merchandise volume (GMV) from this year’s event is forecast to come in at $20 billion, up from last year’s $13.36 billion.


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