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Singles' Day: Outperforming Black Friday & Cyber Monday

04.10.2020, 4m

Singles’ Day might not be known by everyone in the UK, but the fact is that it's getting more and more popular every year. In the last few years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been two of the biggest shopping days in the world, especially in the US and across Europe. Singles’ Day has been on the rise. Should your business take part?

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What is Singles’ Day?

Singles’ Day is a holiday that started in China in the 90s. As you might have guessed, it began as a kind of anti-Valentine’s Day. Cleverly, Singles’ Day takes place on November 11th (11.11) because the date, when written numerically, is only comprised of the number "one". 

This relatively new tradition sees single people treat themselves to gifts. Over the years, it has become so popular that social gatherings and events take place on this day (often to meet people). It is also a popular day for weddings!

The biggest sign of its popularity is the fact that… wait for it… it is the biggest shopping day in the world

Yes, you’ve read that correctly. Singles’ Day is the biggest shopping day in the world.

alibabas-singles-day-gmv-2011-2019The famous brand, Alibaba, has helped make Singles’ Day what it is today: the world’s biggest shopping day (Source: Statista)

In fact, according to Techcrunch, it is 2.5 times larger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined! If you don’t believe me, check out this chart from Statista on Singles’ Day performance in 2017. Alibaba (founders of AliExpress) alone saw over 1.48 billion transactions worldwide in 2017. Also noteworthy: 90% of sales came from mobile devices. 

chartoftheday_11810_singles_day_vs_cyber_monday_and_black_friday_nWhen you consider China’s population, this shouldn’t be too shocking (Source: Statista)

But wait; there's more! Alibaba didn't only make lots of money on Singles' Day. They also took in an insane amount of orders:

number-of-orders-placed-on-alibabas-platforms-on-singles-day-2013-2019
Alibaba took in about 1.2 billion orders in a single 24-hour span: Singles' Day (Source: Statista)

You might be saying to yourself "That's all well and good in China. But no one knows about this holiday here." Well, it might not rival Christmas in terms of recognition, but Europeans are definitely becoming more and more aware of the holiday as well:

singles-day-awareness-level-among-consumers-in-europe-2019

As of 2019, consumer awareness in Europe is getting higher (Source: Statista)

As you can see, the holiday is actually relatively well-known for being somewhat "new". This is particularly true in the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands

If you're still not convinced about the popularity of Singles' Day in Europe, here is one last chart. With the UK and Germany leading the way, these are the predicted value of sales for different European countries on Single's Day: 

singles-day-spending-in-europe-in-2019-by-country
After seeing impressive numbers in 2018, these were the predictions for Singles' Day sales across Europe in 2019 (Source: Statista)

In fact, according to Statista, UK businesses made about £1.11 billion in 2018 on Singles' Day, and this was forecast to grow by 13% in 2019. 

Recommended reading: Discovery & Trust: a Survey of UK Online Shoppers

Why your business should pay attention to Singles’ Day 

The Chinese have been celebrating this holiday online as their version of Black Friday. Although the holiday hasn’t quite reached mainstream status in the UK, it is growing in popularity. Thanks to Alibaba’s global success, we’ve seen this holiday sale become more prevalent around the world in the last few years.

Alibaba isn’t the only brand benefiting from the holiday. JD.com has also reported major profits in the last few years. British brand ASOS has been participating as well. Doing a quick Google search will reveal that there are many websites dedicated to sharing the different Singles’ Day sales out there. 

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become immensely popular in the last few years, you may have noticed that some brands are trying to get one step ahead. In the last few years, I’ve noticed plenty of pre-Black Friday sales or “Countdown to Black Friday” sales. 

Because Singles’ Day takes place in early November, it seems like the perfect time to get a jump start on your Christmas sales, especially as the “new” holiday grows in popularity every year.  

Conclusion

If you want to get a jump start on your holiday sales, you should strongly consider starting a Singles’ Day promotion. The key here is to start a marketing campaign a few weeks in advance. Get on social media and spread the word. For example, you can go on Instagram and set up some polls to get engagement and an overview of the interest from your audience.

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