Image source: Alibaba’s

Largest Single Shopping Day Globally

After reading that headline, most people in the world would think I’m about to share the first insights about the upcoming Black Friday event (Nov. 23rd) or recap Amazon’s Prime Day (July 16th, 2018). However, the day I’m writing about surpasses both those days (AND Cyber Monday) in total sales each year. It’s known as Single’s Day.

For context, this is an annual shopping festival created by Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, which began ten years ago. The first event kicked off on November 11th, 2009 generating only US$7.5 million (52 million yuan). Since, that day the then event has dramatically evolved into a 24-hours non-stop festival full of blockbuster deals, celebrations, high-profile concerts, online/offline shopping, interactive fashion shows, and drastic economic growth. While having begun in China, the event today has buyers from all around Asia and the rest of the world.

This year on November 11th (11.11), Single’s Day, Alibaba smashed through previous records of the past ten years selling over US$30.8 BILLION (213.5 billion yuan) GMV during the 24-hour event!

2018 Single’s Day Highlights:

  • 27% growth from 2017’s GMV of US$25.8 billion (168.2 billion yuan).
  • Sales hit US$1 billion in one minute and 25 seconds. An hour in, and sales exceeded $10 billion, five minutes and 21 seconds faster than 2017. 🚀 (Why This Matters: The largest consumer market (China) in the world drove this numbers. While purchases were made globally, it’s important to recognize the purchasing power and habits of China’s consumers.)
  • 200,000 mom-and-pop stores powered by Alibaba’s Ling Shou Tong platform provided online sales promotions. Rural Taobao added coupons to its services in 800 counties across 29 Chinese provinces. (Why This Matters: 200,000 small stores have now been brought online with in-store analytics, inventory management systems, and the ability to leverage Alibaba as their logistics/fulfillment backend.)
  • 150,000 Koubei merchant partners offered 50% off on catering, beauty salons, hair salons and karaoke bars.
  •, Alibaba’s food delivery platform, provided delivery for select Starbucks stores across 11 Chinese cities. (Why This Matters: Starbucks and Alibaba recently joined forces in China. This allows Starbucks to rapidly grow their market share and reach more customers outside their stores throughout China thanks to delivery network.)
  • Ahead of the event, the retailer also outfitted nearly 100,000 of its Tmall stores across China with facial recognition technology to process payments. (source: The Verge) (Why This Matters: 100,000 stores. 100,000 stores now have the ability to now process payments within facial recognition…in China…the world’s largest consumer market. This is a drastic innovative advancement in payment technology beyond the phone.)
  • Over a billion delivery orders were placed. (Why This Matters: This was over 200 million more deliveries than 2017 testing the latest improvements Alibaba has made to it’s supply chain over the last year.)
  • During the 2018 festival, over 40% of consumers bought from international brands. (Why This Matters: International brands are still seeing strong growth within Asia.)
Source: South China Morning Post (SCMP)
Source: Alibaba

The New Retail

Alibaba has coined the term “New Retail” which focused on the future of retail where our online and offline shopping experiences will blend seamlessly together. This year’s Single’s Day event showed many of the begins to this that Alibaba has at work throughout China.

One of the more exciting highlights, which is a precursor to the November 11th event, was Tmall Collection’s “See Now, Buy Now” Fashion Show. This event was broadcasted live on ten platforms including Taobao, Youku, Weibo and Toutiao on October 20, throughout China. During the broadcast, customers had the opportunity to purchase their favorite items seen on the catwalk in real-time via their smartphone — from anywhere in the world.

Image Source: Alibaba

Why Does This Matter?

This is just the beginning of our future with retail. Customers globally are looking for easy and seamless purchasing experiences as they’ve come accustom to in other areas of life. Alibaba and others are seeing this trend as it unfolds. Alibaba’s continued focus on the future of retail and optimizing our online/offline experiences is proving that customers can get what they want, no matter when, where, or how.

Image Source: Alibaba

If you’re interested in seeing more you can visit the live blog posting here of the entire event from beginning to end and all the milestones shattered in between.

Additional sources:

More on 2018 Single’s Day can be found here, along with the official facts sheet here.

Alibaba Ecosystem Stats:

China’s Online Shopping Stat:

2009 Sales:



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Kyle Ellicott

Kyle Ellicott


Writing about #Blockchain, #DApps, #Digitization, and all things #Distributed. Host of Blockchain & Crypto Today