Shoppers Spend $139B During Singles’ Day Fest
Shoppers spent $139.1 billion during this year’s annual Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza, breaking last year’s record even though spending slowed during the coronavirus pandemic. Alibaba tallied 540.3 billion yuan ($84.5 billion) in spending over the festival that spanned Nov. 1 to Nov. 11, the company said Thursday, a growth of 14 percent compared to a nearly 93 percent increase last year. Rival JD.com reported 349.1 billion yuan ($54.6 billion) in transactions this year, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 11, about a 28 percent increase compared to 32 percent growth in 2020. The slowdown in growth for the world’s largest online shopping festival, which typically ends on Nov. 11, comes amid reduced marketing hype and a crackdown on the technology industry.
Total Retail's Take: With eye-popping sales numbers even in a "slow growth" year, the question naturally becomes how can U.S. retailers replicate Alibaba's success with Singles' Day. Keith Nealon, CEO of Bazaarvoice, offered the following commentary in an email sent to Total Retail:
"Although only widely celebrated in certain parts of the world, Singles’ Day has consistently become the largest retail event of the year. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes mainstream in the U.S., and brands and retailers need to get on board sooner rather than later. In fact, the timing is perfect, as the event occurs at the beginning of November, and U.S. consumers are beginning their holiday shopping earlier than ever. According to a consumer survey we hosted this year, over a quarter (23 percent) started their holiday shopping in October, while almost half (46 percent) said they’ll start in November.
"A huge reason why Singles’ Day is so popular is due to the heavy usage of livestream shopping. Yet to become normalized in the western world, livestream shopping is a multibillion dollar industry that's just now beginning to be introduced into the U.S. Once it becomes more popular, I think that its American success will mirror that of China’s. This is because shoppers are so inspired and influenced by visual content. Our research found that 65 percent of shoppers find the availability of previous customer photos on social media and websites essential in their purchase decisions. So, what could be better than seeing someone, live, trying out or trying on a product? It’s the best way to demonstrate online how the product fits or works, and can help potential customers imagine how they would use the product in their own lives.”
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.