What We Can Learn From E-Commerce Giant Alibaba on Singles' Day 2016

What We Can Learn From E-Commerce Giant Alibaba on Singles

To celebrate the fact that people should be proud of being single, they are encouraged to shop online enticed with huge discounts thrown in every November 11th (known as "Single's Day" or "光棍节"), a concept made popular by China's leading e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Gross merchandise volume (GMV) reached a whopping US$17.79 billion by the end of this year's 1-day event, beating the GMV of US$14.3 billion back in 2015.

In this article, we highlight some key insights we can learn from this record-smashing event.

 

1) Mobile Commerce Is Definitely On The Rise in China

Mobile transactions represented 84 percent of all sales as of 1pm China time although the rate has slowly decreased as the day gone on. This could probably be attributed to the surge in people using their smartphones when the sale opened at midnight.

In the United States, mobile is typically below 35 percent of sales on major shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. At least 90 percent of online shoppers in China had used their smartphone at least once to make a transaction, and that that number would continue to grow.

2) International Retail Brands Big and Small Want A Share Of This Massive E-Commerce Pie and Alibaba is Facilitating It

Alibaba reported that over 14,000 international brands have jumped onto this year's sales bandwagon, accounted for around one-third of sales with Apple, Nike and Siemens among the top sellers.

Alibaba has worked hard to make Singles' Day increasingly international, with its star-studded countdown gala this year featuring appearances from well known sport stars like Kobe Bryant, David Beckham and his fashion designer wife Victoria, not to forget performances by U.S. pop band OneRepublic.

3) Chinese Brands Took This Opportunity To Reach Out Internationally

Chinese brands are also cashing in on the company’s increased globalization and international reach, with consumers in some 207 countries buying items from Alibaba's family of e-commerce platforms in the Single’s Day sale.

4) More Online Retailers In Other Parts Of The World Ride On This Wave

It is not only in China where the all the online shopping buzz happened. In Singapore, top online retailers like Lazada and Zalora rode on the waves to entice local shoppers with huge discounts and promotions on this single day. Other smaller Singapore e-commerce websites also joined in the movement with their own Singles' Day promotions. Even popular UK e-commerce giant ASOS gave a whopping 28% store wide discount for a 24hr time limit.

Singles' Day may be over, but the sheer power of how a globally coordinated shopping event can skyrocket sales for online retailers in a single day is testament to how technology can disrupt not only traditional retailing but also, retail marketing.

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