Singles Day stands as the pinnacle of e-commerce shopping events globally and is a key driver for e-commerce sales during the peak season.
Originating in 1993 by students at Nanjing University, it was initially conceived as an alternative to Valentine's Day, celebrating the single life. Today, its economic impact is so profound that its revenue surpasses the annual GDP of nations like Croatia, Slovenia, and Costa Rica.
Much of Singles Day's meteoric rise can be attributed to Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce titan that transformed and popularised the event. Other major players, such as CD.com, quickly recognised its potential and have actively promoted Singles Day with enticing deals and marketing blitzes.
Singles Day is celebrated annually on the 11th of November. The date, 11.11, is made up of four "1"s, symbolising the community of individuals who are single.
Just as in previous years, the existing records for sales, revenue, and like were pushed even further in 2022. However, despite another increase in sales, the growth slowed down on Singles Day 2022 compared to the years before. Let's take a look at some interesting and impressive facts and figures:
Revenue in $
For a good number of Western retailers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are often hailed as the pinnacle of e-commerce shopping events. And, to be fair, they're not wrong in many respects. Yet, when one casts a wider net and considers the global e-commerce landscape, Black Friday and Cyber Monday don't quite hold a candle to the sheer magnitude of Singles Day.
For perspective, Alibaba's Singles Day revenue was nearly double that of the entire Thanksgiving weekend sales in the US. Moreover, Alibaba's earnings on Singles Day were almost seven times higher ($84.5 billion) than Amazon's Prime Day revenue ($12 billion) in 2022.
Believe it or not, Alibaba on its own has generated more revenue than the combined revenue during the Thanksgiving weekend (including Black Friday and Cyber Monday) in the US… times 2.
If you think Amazon plays in its own league in terms of e-commerce sales, you are going to be surprised. Alibaba generated nearly 7 times as much revenue ($84.5 billion) as its American counterpart during Amazon Prime Day ($12 billion) in 2022.
Revenue in $
Singles Day began as a celebration of single individuals in 1993 and was quickly commercialised by Alibaba. In contrast, Black Friday has roots in the early 1900s American retail tradition, with its e-commerce focus emerging more recently.
Awareness of Singles Day is growing in Europe. Germany leads in awareness at 21.3%, followed by the Netherlands, the UK, and France. Sales spikes in 2021 were most notable in Italy, Spain, and France. In Southeast Asia, sales soared, with Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam seeing the most significant increases.
According to Statista, the awareness of Singles Day in Europe is increasing every year. From 2019 to 2020 the awareness of that day within Europe increased from 14.1% to 16.6% on average. People from Germany lead this statistic (21.3%), followed by the Netherlands (20.5%), the UK (19.7%), and France (16.6%).
The strongest sales spikes for Singles Day 2021 in Europe could be observed in Italy (80%), Spain (68%), and France (57%) according to Criteo’s data. In Southeast Asia, sales skyrocketed by +205% on November 11 compared to October 11-17. Singapore led the way with a +263% increase, followed by Indonesia with +131% and Vietnam with +79%. However, overall Singles Day sales in 2022 declined by -23% compared to 2020 and 2021.
Sales in the U.S. also rose significantly, which can be exemplified by Nike’s $15 million in sales in the first minute.
Germany's Media Markt, one of Europe's largest retailers of consumer electronics, is now advertising Singles' Day. They assure that its discounts are "nicht nur für Singles" (not only for singles).
With over 650 million consumers, Latin America is one of the fastest-growing eCommerce markets in the world. According to Beyond Borders, eCommerce is expected to grow 30% every year through 2025.
As the data from the past Singles Days shows there is immense potential, not only for Asian companies but also for merchants from the rest of the world.
If you are a merchant taking part in Singles Day 2023, there are some things you should keep in mind to stay on top of things.
Many merchants lose their heads and fall into a gold-rush-like state when there is the possibility to increase revenue. While increasing your sales is great, making profits should be your priority. Precisely calculate how much of a discount you can offer your potential customers.
In the holiday season of 2023, stock levels will be a decisive factor for many e-commerce companies, and for some of them, it will be a bottleneck. Don’t be one of these companies and avoid your and your customers’ frustration by ensuring that you have enough inventory.
In business as in life, you should try keeping things simple more often than not. This is true for e-commerce as well, especially when it comes to shopping days like Singles Day. Don’t overwhelm your customers with complicated offers or multiple discount codes. Offer one product that they really want. It will facilitate their decision as well as your operations.
While it can be a good idea to put money into Google ads or display ads, make sure to use your organic power via email and your social channels. This way you can reach prospects that have already interacted with your brand, free of cost.
With a Singles Day offer, you might win new customers. That is great! However, it would be a shame if it stopped there. The first sale is your chance to prove that your shop is worth returning to. Fast and reliable shipping is one part of the buying experience that customers today value most. Moreover, make sure to be responsive in case issues arise and offer uncomplicated returns solutions.
Singles Day has some specifics that you should know about to win the shopping event in 2023.
This event is all about self-love. This is something every brand should be able to get behind. And that is exactly what you should do as well, especially if it fits your products. If it fits your brand personality, use memes, puns, and gifs on your channels. Also think about using infographics, and personal or humorous content. Images and videos usually perform well in that regard. About 70% of our sensory receptors are in our eyes and humor can increase attention and memory.
E-Commerce via Livestream is a huge thing in Asia - especially during Singles Day. While this trend in other continents has not yet come close to the multiple billions of Dollars and Euros it generates in Asia, it is worth trying for every online merchant in 2023 - what can you lose?
Not only in China is mobile commerce key to a successful Singles Day 2023. Optimise your pages for mobile users. In late 2022, smartphones dominated retail website visits globally, representing over 70% and driving most online orders. The increasing adoption of mobile devices, especially in regions with limited digital infrastructure, will further shape the future shopping experience. Asia, particularly China and South Korea, leads in m-commerce, with mobile devices accounting for over two-thirds of their online sales.
While going into detail about cultural differences is beyond the scope of this article, there are some easy tips that you can implement. For Singles Day, discount codes that are a multiple of 11 have worked well in the past (e.g. 11%, 22%, 33%). Of course, check first your profit margins are high enough to offer such a discount. Moreover, try to avoid the number 4 if you’re selling in China, as this is considered an unlucky number there.
As every year, Singles Day 2023 is the 11th of November (11.11)
Singles Day was created by four Chinese Students from Nanjing University in 1993 to celebrate being single.
In terms of revenue, Singles Day is clearly bigger than Black Friday. It generated more than double the revenue of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
In terms of revenue, Singles Day is unquestionably bigger than Prime Day. In fact, Singles Day 2020 generated more revenue than Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime Day combined.
The main drivers of Singles Day have been Chinese E-Commerce companies led by Alibaba and JD.com. However, Singles Day is becoming increasingly popular in Western countries.