Known as Singles' Day, Alibaba and its founder, Jack Ma, transformed the de facto holiday of November 11 from an ‘anti-Valentine's Day’ for Chinese singletons to a global shopping festival back in 2009 – and made billions of dollars in the process.
Up to when this post is written, Bernama reported the total of Gross Merchandise Value for this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is US$25.24 billion (RMB168.2 billion)!
What is it all about Singles’ Day, the world’s biggest online shopping event anyway?
Does it sound really new to you? Here are fun facts you should know about this annual event and why you shouldn’t miss it in the following years!
1. Singles' Day, also known as 'bare sticks holiday,' started in 1993 at Nanjing University as a day for students to celebrate their singledom. The date 11:11 was chosen as it resembles 4 solitary bare sticks.
2. It kicks off on the 11 November midnight and runs for 24 hours featuring steep discounts that are driven by the main Alibaba-owned platform, Tmall. Essentially, think of it as the Asian version of America’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping sales – but bigger than the two combined.
3. This year, over 15 million products from more than 140,000 brands, including 60,000 international brands, will be offering discounts on Tmall – up from 100,000 last year. Other platforms like JD.com have become a key competitor and will be pushing equally hard to attract shoppers.
4. Singles' Day is known for racking up record numbers – more so than Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Amazon Prime Day sales. In 2016, Alibaba made a staggering US$17.8 billion (US$5 billion in the first hour alone) and intends to break that record this year.
5. 82% of Alibaba's Gross Merchandise Volume came from mobile transactions on Singles' Day last year, reaching a total of US$14.6 billion.
5. To manage the high volume of deliveries, Alibaba opened its first automated, robot-managed warehouse. JD.com has teamed up with Walmart to simplify shopping processes and speed up deliveries.
6. To kickstart the 2017 event, Tmall hosts a four-hour star-studded countdown gala on the night before, where Pharrell Williams is expected to perform alongside other Chinese celebrities.
7. Special for this year, starring alongside action superstars Jet Li and Donnie Yen, Ma will be unveiling his martial arts film, Gong Shou Dao (The Art of Attack and Defence), on video platform Youku on Singles' Day. Ma also released a theme song entitled Feng Qing Yang that he recorded with Chinese singer Faye Wong, in promoting the film.
8. “We want to make this a global holiday, a global festival for every consumer… We want [to] help global small business…” Ma told CNN last year. To demonstrate it, this year Tmall will bring 100 Chinese brands overseas offering special promotions to target millions of consumers around the world.
If you missed this privilege on shopping luxuriously this year, do not worry as here we gathered for you the tips of doing so in next years to come:
If you’re in China…
Timing is everything, so be sure to prepare your shopping list early instead of browsing the entire site once the sale starts. While you're checking out, also look out for additional promo vouchers that you can use to gain further discounts. Payment can be made with Alipay, UnionPay or major credit cards
If you’re abroad…
Since most of the sites are in Chinese, prepare yourself with a translation tool like Google Translate to help you navigate. Before checking out, ensure the products can be shipped to your destination. Lastly, do a quick research to find out which credit cards offer the lowest rates for inter-bank transactions and exchange rates.
Hope to see you again next year, Singles' Day!
Source : Forbes