The Biggest Shopping Day of the Year (That You’ve Never Heard Of)


Singles’ Day may sound like something you’d expect from Tinder, but it’s actually a major shopping day conceived by online retailer, Alibaba. Much like Amazon’s Prime Day, this is the e-tailer’s most profitable shopping day of the year.

The biggest day in retail

It’s not unheard of for retailers to offer flash sales for a limited period. Even airlines have jumped on to this marketing bandwagon, often offering a 24-hour window of deeply discounted flight tickets. This sales strategy can prove to be extremely lucrative. Online retailer, Alibaba,has gone on to create Singles’ Day which, over the past few years, has cultivated quite a following, with millions of customers counting down to the big shopping day.

Alibaba started as a place for business-to-business connections, with a focus on connecting Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers. Over time, the site went from being strictly B2B, to B2C, and even a C2C e-commerce site. Singles’ Day, which falls on November 11th every year, was launched seven years ago and has since become the biggest shopping day on the planet. Last year, it generated $14 billion in sales – that’s more than double the total U.S. online sales from Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined!

Changing how consumers shop

They may have created the biggest shopping day ever, but Alibaba is not done experimenting with how they can transform shopping experiences. This year, the e-commerce retailer kicked-off a series of pre-events including an eight-hour live-streamed “See now, buy now” fashion show in Shanghai. Customers were able to order pieces straight from the catwalk in real time online. And the events don’t stop there as Alibaba aims to erase “the line between commerce and entertainment.”

With the data of hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers at their disposal, Alibaba considers itself more than just an online retailer, but a data company as well. Alibaba is able to leverage this information to better customize each customer experience. As Forbes reports, “This creates new opportunities for brands to engage with their customers. Retailers can customize their storefronts, product selections, and marketing materials so that every consumer sees personalized search results.”

Other companies following in “shopping day” trend

Alibaba and Amazon aren’t the only companies using the notion of “shopping days” to their advantage. Other businesses that have created their own shopping days include American Express, whose ‘Small Business Saturday’ (November 27th), celebrates and encourages consumers to shop at small, craft brands and businesses. Small Businesses benefit from being highlighted on this day as the purpose of it is to encourage people across the country to shop local. There also exists an international ‘Record Store Day’, which highlights standalone brick and mortar stores whose whose product line consists of at least 50% music retail. Participating retailers must not be publicly traded and ownership must be at least 70% located in the state of operation. Translation: online retailers and corporate behemoths need not apply. Heavy metal band Metallica headlined this year’s Record Store Day. Next year’s will take place on April 15th, 2017.

Jill England

Jill England

Jill likes to share usable information with readers spanning industries such as food, travel, beauty, sports, pets, holistic health, and all things green. She's a curious and avid consumer of information of all kinds to enable continuous learning and sharing.
Jill England