If you’ve never heard of Singles’ Day, it’s time you found out and started seeing it as a window of opportunity for e-commerce – whether you are single or not! It all began as Chinese festival in which single people celebrated their single status with pride. But when you’re celebrating, you spoil yourself, and when you spoil yourself, usually buy something you’ve wanted for a long time.
China’s online shopping platform, Alibaba, soon caught on to the opportunity, offering deals and bargains that few can resist. Now the rest of the world is catching on too, with several US retailers also getting on board. Here’s what you need to know.
When is the biggest shopping day in the world?
Singles’ Day is celebrated on the 11th of November, giving it the nickname “11/11”. Alibaba expects $20 billion in sales on the day, beating Black Friday’s estimated $5.8 billion in online sales. Clothing, consumer electronics, and even cars are offered at reduced prices, and it’s not always necessary to live in China, or even be single, to take advantage.
US retailers get in on the act
2016’s Singles’ Day is going to be the humdinger, with 40,000 brands participating. US brands are on the list: Costco, Starbucks, Macy’s, Gap, Target and Children’s Place all have their plans for Singles’ Day. Alibaba reports that Costco sold over $3 million in products through TMall in just one hour last year.
High-end brands such as Adidas, Nike, and New Balance will all be selling goods at bargain prices. Companies are even planning major product launches for the day, and Forbes notes that 10% of sales aren’t from local brands. Despite the price slashing, online retailers see it as an opportunity to sell more and market their brands.
AliExpress for wholesale direct purchases worldwide
While much of the excitement is happening in China, people from all over the world are hitting AliExpress, an e-commerce platform that allows you to import goods wholesale without any local middle man, on 11/11. Not sure if AliExpress is for you? It could be worth giving it a closer look. The site is the most-visited website in Russia, and the already-low prices are likely to be even lower on the day.
Singles’ Day to go international?
Alibaba has global ambitions, so although Singles’ Day opportunities may be limited internationally at present, it may soon become an international shopping day. That’s good news for cut-price early Christmas shoppers.
Initial expansion is pegged for Asia, but with US brands participating enthusiastically, and with communities around the world no doubt eager to get another bargain shopping opportunity, it’s only a matter of time.
Jack Ma, an ex-English teacher, owner of Alibaba, and the richest man in China wants one in four people around the world to become Alibaba shoppers in the next ten years. But analysts say it may be a tough goal to reach. Alibaba, they say, is at its best in Asia, just as Amazon, which struggles in Asia, is best in the West.
Not all consumers are happy
Although there’s lots of enthusiasm for Singles’ Day as a mind-bogglingly enormous shopping event, not everyone’s happy. Some customers are wondering how retailers can keep their prices so high all year if they can still make profits on reduced prices. Others worry that small retailers who offer fair prices all year will be adversely affected.
Lastly, there’s the temptation to bust budgets on Singles’ Day, leaving consumers without a feather to fly with for months to come. Have you ever experienced month after Black Friday or Cyber Monday blues? You’ll know what they’re talking about!
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