Are You Ready for Singles’ Day 2017?

November 2, 2017 | Article written by Carly Morris

Most people consider 11/11 to be a lucky day. But for many international retailers, it’s more than just superstition.

That’s because November 11th marks the annual celebration of Singles’ Day.

Though it has yet to fully infiltrate the US, retail industries around the world already recognize Singles’ Day as a massive sales opportunity that rivals even the biggest shopping days of the winter holiday season.

Singles’ Day, or Double Elevens, began in the 1990s as a kind of anti-Valentine’s Day in which bachelors and bachelorettes would buy gifts for themselves to celebrate their singledom. In 2009, the celebration was adopted by eCommerce giant Alibaba and subsequently shaped into one of the biggest retail holidays of the year, encouraging everyone, regardless of relationship status, to shower themselves with gifts at deep discounts.


What’s the Story?

Retail Spend
Last November, Singles’ Day shoppers spent nearly $18 billion in just 24 hours within China alone. And, according to Alibaba, 82% of all their purchases took place on mobile devices.

Still, this impact extends much further than Alibaba, China, or November 11th alone.

Though Singles’ Day originated in China, it’s been steadily gaining ground around the APAC region and throughout Western Europe for some time.

Since its launch eight years ago, more than 14,000 international brands have joined the festivities, both inside and outside of the country. In fact, today nearly 3/4 of all Singles’ Day sales come from retailers beyond China’s big 5 eCommerce platforms.

Accordingly, as more retailers started getting on board with the holiday sales, they also became increasingly eager to find new ways of standing out from the crowd. As a result, what was once a one-day cult holiday is now a several-weeks’ long celebration with a star-studded kickoff gala, intro events, and all new technology releases.

The overall impact of the celebration is also particularly strong given its timing. For retailers catering to Chinese demographics, mid-November tends to be a dry season, with little spend coming in ahead of the winter holidays and Chinese New Year. This makes Singles’ Day a great opportunity to spike sales in the midst of a rut – and to capture your consumers’ full attention (and wallets) while they’re not shopping anywhere else.

For retailers outside of China, the holiday also comes at a great time. In this case, right in the midst of the winter holiday push. Retailers are already increasing their advertising budgets and stocking their inventory for mass consumption, so Singles’ Day adds another great source of income to get even more from your initiatives for the festive season.


Should You Take Part?

If your business has a major footprint in China, then the answer is yes. If not, then the answer is still yes.

As the holiday grows in popularity both inside and outside of China, Singles’ Day is a key piece of the bigger picture when it comes to taking full advantage, and going global, during the holiday season.

So how can you get started?

If you’ve yet to begin your Singles’ Day promotions, then the time to start is now.

But not to worry, all things considered, Singles’ Day promotional campaigns should work a lot like the rest of your winter holiday initiatives.

You can start by launching engaging cross-channel campaigns to let your audience know that you’ll be participating in the Singles’ Day sales, and start getting them excited about the kinds of deals they can expect. Then, focus on combining these awareness campaigns with supplementary retargeting initiatives that serve to further entice your audience with ads customized by the products they’ve already shown interest in. Finally, follow up with in-app promotions and mobile push notifications to ensure that you stay front-of-mind amid all the noise of the celebration.

Campaigns aside, now is also the time to get your logistics in check. That is, to start stocking up your product inventory and preparing your web/app functionality to accommodate the massive influxes of traffic that are on the way.

Singles’ Day 2017 is on track to make a record-breaking impact for retailers around the world. How will you make the most of it?