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Single day : what is this important festival in China?

Alibaba made more than 74,1 billion dollars during the Single day.

If you are interested in China or even digital and business, you may have heard of the most popular and important online shopping festival in the whole country. Here is what made the success of these 2 dates which can be compared to the Black Friday.


Single day: 11.11

First, it is important to understand what this day represents.

This date originates from an university tradition in Nanjing during the 90’s. At that time, this day was reserved for newly graduated male students to celebrate their success and their freedom with friends. It reached not long after popularity amount female graduates. This date of November 11 was not chosen randomly but because of the four “1” that compose it: it is a synonym of individuality.

Over time, 11.11 has become the single day and then the day to celebrate single life throughout China.

In 2009, giant Alibaba seized this date to make it an annual festival for singles with lots of deals, mostly on Tmall. Very quickly, this event conquered the Chinese population and Alibaba took the opportunity to extend its influence on the market by selling, on this occasion, a large quantity of products at attractive prices. Today, with the help of the internet, this festival has crossed borders and many brands have started to promote it abroad.

In 2019, the Chinese e-commerce giant achieved 34.7 billion euros in sales, a new record. Due to the high demand, this year’s festival took place not only on November 11, the official date, but also from November 1 to 3. While we could expect a new record this year, no one would have imagined that Alibaba would beat its own record by doubling its sales: 62 billion euros.

Obviously, this can be explained, in this very special year, by the COVID 19 epidemic which has led the population to buy online more than usual, but also by the number of foreign brands which have developed their participation and Alibaba’s communication marketing. As numbers, this represents more than 250,000 brands including 475 with a turnover over 13 million euros at the end.

The e-commerce giant can also be proud of its cloud infrastructure which made it possible to process 583,000 orders per second.

Cosmetics were one of the best-selling product categories on the platform. The biggest brands were Chinese and Korean, but right behind were international brands which very quickly understood that it was in their interest to take part due to the power  this event can offer. Additionally, Alibaba recently reiterated that collaborations with KOL and KOC are as important as doing livestreamings, super popular at the moment.


Double 12

12.12 was initially aimed to popularize Alipay and offer the possibility for offline stores to participate in the event. Nowadays, December 12th is considered as a sequel to 11.11 to sell extra stock leftovers and to help small offline business through its Taobao platform. Small and medium business can offer deals. Everything is digitized with easy transactions through Alipay, livestreamings, and online advertising campaigns.

This year, became the first Chinese’s online platform to allow consumers to pay with digital yuan. Even if a lot of online shopping sites don’t publish their sales, this one announced on their Wechat account almost 20 000 orders were made with this digital currency. The test was made in collaboration with the Suzhou municipality which gave away 20 million yuan through red packets.

Even if numbers were lower than the previous online shopping event in November, brands made great profit out of it. For example, consumers bought coupons for 9,000 cups of milk tea within 30 minutes and 24,000 movie tickets within an hour, according to Global Times.


You can read more on possible digital Yuan here.


Sources :

Singles’ Day : histoire d’un phénomène Made In China by Perrine

Single Day 2020 : Alibaba et explosent leur record avec 62,58 milliards d’euros de ventes by Valentin Cimino

Singles’ Day : Alibaba explose son record de vente avec 62 milliards d’euros ! by Bruno C.

Eclipsed by Its Predecessor, Double 12’s Statistics Revealed by Yue Sun

Double 12 online shopping festival comes and goes without the hype of Double 11 By Zhang Hongpei

Why businesses need to take note of 12/12 in China (the market’s most important promotion you’ve never heard of) and what brands can do to prepare by Eddie Tabakman

By Manon Anger

In love with Asia and China, I'm a MBA Digital Marketing & Business Shanghai student.

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