“Double 11”: the Single Day of records

12/11/2018

With $50 billion total revenue, “Double 11” 2018 edition has broken every conceivable record. Alibaba reconfirms itself as PRC e-commerce leader with the $30 billion reached, followed by JD with almost $22 billion in revenue. The 10th anniversary was supposed to be the largest-ever in scale and reach, and so it was

 

On the occasion of the 10-year anniversary, Alibaba announced that this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival – also knowns as Double 11 – would be the largest-ever in scale and reach. The expectations have not been disappointed and the day closed with a total of 50 billion dollars of gross merchandise volume.

Created in 2009 by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, 11.11 became the most important shopping event in the world. Since the first hours, this 10th edition has seen the Chinese giant breaking every GMV record.

If after just one minute from the stroke of midnight, the turnover reached $700 million, one hour later it reached one billion dollars. At the end of the 24 hours event, the Hangzhou based company closed with $ 30 billion in revenue and a 27% increase over last year.

 

In just 10 minutes, Alibaba has eclipsed Amazon’s Prime Day sales expectations. The Jack Ma’s giant confirms its leadership in the e-commerce sector.

 

Over 180,000 brands joined the Single Day, of which 237 exceeded $ 14 million in GMV, including leading international brands such as Apple, Dyson, Kindle, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Nestlé, Gap, Nike, and Adidas.

Even Alibaba-owned Cainiao Smart Logistics Network broke its own record handling 1 billion delivery orders in 24 hours for the first time. To meet the challenge, Cainiao developed several initiatives and preparing a series of advanced technologies.

Cainiao Vice President Ben Wang said: “Consumers increasingly want faster, better delivery, so that’s what we’re doing. This year, we’re striving to achieve a new high, leveraging the beauty of scale and technology”.

Currently, Cainiao is at the forefront of the logistics world. The company, in fact, recently opened the biggest automated warehouse in China, in the eastern city of Wuxi, Jiangsu, which it is part of the company’s first Future Park, a logistics complex run by Internet of Things applications, big data, edge computing, and artificial intelligence.

 

©Douyin, Cainiao used AI and AGV technology to optimize the tsunami of orders

 

The system directs the AGVs to drive, load and unload while planning the best routes to distribute parcels and avoid collision. The robots allow for 50% more orders to be processed within a given time period than a traditional warehouse, Cainiao said.

The company is currently concentrating its efforts on improving efficiency and reducing the timing of logistics processes. Among the most interesting new projects is that of Sky Eye, a cloud-based video monitoring system that was used by Cainiao’s logistics partners for 11.11 this year.

 

The “Double 11” is now the symbol of China’s unstoppable business rise and each year it sets new records. This year Alibaba unabashedly dominated Southeast Asia’s e-commerce space thanks to Lazada.

 

E-commerce in Southeast Asia is still at the “beginning of the journey” and still witnessing “accelerating growth,” said Alexis Lanternier, CEO of Lazada Singapore, but it’s growing. Lazada — a Singapore-based online shopping website with operations across Southeast Asia now member of Alibaba Group — hosted its own Singles Day event.

When the event kicked off at midnight, Lazada saw three times more shopper traffic this year, compared to last year, bringing the festival to consumers in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

 

©Alizila.com. Lazada, the Southeast Asian e-commerce platform in which Alibaba holds an 83% stake, saw record-breaking numbers for its Singles Day sales

 

Then, while Tmall World, AliExpress and Lazada brought 11.11 beyond the Chinese borders thus turning it into a true global event, Tmall Global provided 3,700 categories of goods imported from 75 countries and regions within its platform. In fact, 40% of consumers made purchases from international brands.

It is interesting that among the first five countries that sold the most in China, the US is second, surpassed only by Japan. To better understand the importance of the American input, just think that in 2017 US consumers spent $19.62 billion online over the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Black Friday and Cyber Monday recording a growth of “just” 15% compared to the previous year.

 

©Aizila.com. Nevertheless Washington trade war, PRC market is still important for US based brands.

 

If we consider that the single daily sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have closed respectively to $ 5.03 billion and $ 6.59 billion, the comparison with the Alibaba event is ruthless.

With $ 30 billion in revenue in 24 hours, the American turnover gains a certain importance. Overseas retailers thus found in the Chinese market a huge sale opportunity while the Dragon’s e-commerce platforms play a fundamental role in the game.

Joseph Tsai – executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group – explained that “nowadays Chinese consumers do not want to buy things only, but they look for a global and total experience”. According to Tsai, “they want to have fun because shopping must be entertainment adding that when the buyer opens Amazon, he cannot wait to leave the site”.

 

It looks like the American brands have found their way to reach the hearts of Chinese buyers outside the national marketplace.

 

The popularity of the Single Day, however, is also due to the ability of the Chinese giant to create visibility and engagement around it. Since 2015, in fact, the Global Shopping Festival Countdown Gala accompanies users until midnight with guests both local and internationally renowned. The event is followed by millions of viewers who get ready for the promotions that will be available online.

The launch of the event featured singer Mariah Carey, Australian model Miranda Kerr, and Cirque du Soleil. It took place on November 10 at the Shanghai’s Mercedes Benz Arena, three weeks after the initiative “See Now, Buy Now“.

This Fashion Show was held on October 20 and broadcasted live on 10 platforms including Taobao, Youku, Weibo and Toutiao giving to millions of consumers the opportunity to buy products on the spot.

 

©Youku. Even Mickey Mouse attended “Double 11 gala” that was followed by millions of Chinese via live-streaming.

 

In fact, this year, more than 500,000 items have been available for pre-order on Tmall since October 20. Moreover, Brand Innovation Tmall provided new digital capabilities to brands including augmented and virtual reality smartphone games with a view to creating interactive initiatives and New Retail.

Alibaba has also made the festival even more accessible to small businesses with 200,000 “mom-and-pop stores” that provide online sales promotions along with initiatives based on augmented reality for the dissemination among consumers of discounts in the 3,000 Tmall Corner Stores.

 

In addition, Hema supermarkets have organized a series of promotions for the Double 11 event as well as the initiative to employ robots in the Shanghai Hema restaurant.

 

Even Starbuck has not lost the opportunity to get on the winning boat. It collaborated with Ele.me’s on-demand platform for the delivery of its products in Beijing and Shanghai. Then, together with Hema, it has also created specific Starbucks Delivery Kitchens for the satisfaction of the day’s orders.

Other shops, such as RT-Mart, completed the festival with the makeover of their stores in the perspective of New Retail and following the format of the Smart Store. An example is the use of artificial intelligence and augmented reality of the “magic mirrors” that allow the consumer to see themselves with makeup using facial recognition.

 

JD is confirmed as the “eternal second”, but the Beijing-based e-commerce platform has registered over $ 22 billion in revenue.

 

The other big Chinese e-commerce platform also broke its own record. At the stroke of midnight, JD closed with assets of almost $ 22 billion. A success gained thanks to a clever and careful choice of marketing.

In fact, the management of the company, knowing that it has a lower influence than the giant of Hangzhou, did not limit the “shopping day” to just 24 hours, but within a period of ten days called “Single’s Day Period“.

 

©Sina.com. Beijing based e-commerce platform sets its personal new Singles Day record with almost $22 billion in sales in 24 hours

 

As expected, the success of the 24-hour discount has not only invested Alibaba or JD. Vipshop, Pinduoduo, and Little Red Book are just three examples of great Chinese successes.

During the first hour of Double 11, Vipshop e-commerce platform had already exceeded two million orders. Despite a steady average online sale over the year, 11.11 represented a twist, which confirmed Beijing, Chengdu, Wuhan, Shanghai, and Guangzhou as the five best selling cities for the Canton platform. According to sales data, makeup and beauty products have been the most requested goods, especially those from Korea, whose brands perfectly combine a good quality-price ratio.

What about social e-commerce? Pinduoduo and Little Red Book are once again the ultimate apps of this new trend. Although the two platforms have recorded their personal success during the Single Day, it does not reach that of Alibaba or JD. However, both have been able to rely on a new audience of young customers who have been able to support the sales of the whole day.

Even if the Double 11 is now associated with online shopping, it was in 1990 that a group of university students from Nanjing decided to set up an anniversary in response to Valentine’s Day. Therefore, November 11 was chosen for the recurrence of the number 1, hence the name “Single Day“.

Thanks to his unquestionable business sense, Jack Ma promoted this day as a commercial event by leveraging the possibility for users to give themselves a gift at favorable prices in order to celebrate their individuality. As a solution for after-breakup compulsive shopping, in 2009, Alibaba started to offer discounts on the same day.

 

Since the first edition, the Global Shopping Festival reached staggering dimensions. While ten years ago only 27 sellers attended the event, today the Double 11’s turnover is higher than the annual GDP of Honduras.

 

11.11 is now the non-official holiday that everyone is waiting with excitement. Not only e-commerce platforms but this day has also invested every aspect of the society that completes the festive air with offline initiatives. What should have been a shopping day has instead become a global event.

The Single Day is now the symbol of China’s unstoppable business rise and each year it sets new records. The number of users, as well as the number of brands and nations involved, are growing year after year and the festival has now become the showcase of all the new technologies at the service of online sales.

Despite this 10th edition was the first without co-founder Jack Ma at the helm, the trend of the day does not seem to stop. After handing over the reins to its CEO Daniel Zhang in September, the Chinese marketplace once again continues to be the undisputed leader of the e-commerce market. It seems that the shopping frenzy no longer belongs only to broken hearts.

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