How Did It Start?
According to some sources, the idea of Singles’ Day originated from students from Nanjing University as far back as 1993. These students wanted to create a special day to celebrate single life and picked November 11 or 11/11 (representing four single numbers) as the date. Initially, it’s some sort of Bachelor’s Day intended only for males, but as the idea spread to other universities, across China, and around the world, Double 11 has evolved into a holiday that’s celebrated by the ladies as well.
Alibaba was the first to have spotted the vast sales opportunity to market to and engage with customers who are celebrating Double Eleven. In 2009, it launched the first-ever Singles’ Day Shopping Festival in collaboration with a handful of top brands. Alibaba encouraged customers to treat themselves for the occasion in celebration of singlehood. However, Single’s Day has since become popular as a day for couples too. Total GMV in Singles’ Day 2009 was around $7.8 million, which is about more than seven times the average GMV that year. What started out as an anti-Valentine’s Day idea is now the biggest shopping holiday in the world.
Double 11/ Singles Day 2022
Double 11 is no doubt now a worldwide shopping holiday with many brands all over the world getting ready to participate. Aside from Alibaba.com, major ecommerce sites in China including Tmall, JD.com, and Suning have been known to offer the biggest discounts and the best marketing promotions during Singles’ Day. It’s also a highly anticipated event for many Chinese consumers looking to get big savings on luxury purchases as well as daily essentials.
A major impact of Double 11 sales is the rapid development of express delivery and cross-border logistics that have made it easier to shop for products internationally. The success of the livestream ecommerce trend has magnified revenues and conversion rates even more over the past years.
China’s neighboring country, Russia, has seen an increase in popularity of food and digital products, made available through Tmall’s international service, Alixpress.com. There is a noticeable increase in orders especially during Double 11.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are major shopping events in the US and Europe, but Singles’ Day has made a name for itself as one of the most influential shopping festivals where top brands offer various online events and promotions.
In Southeast Asia, the biggest ecommerce platforms Shopee and Lazada have actively participated in Singles’ Day, offering the most attractive promotions all year to boost customer spending.
Over 200 countries are expected to participate in Double 11. It has reached more customers over the years, made possible by a huge increase in cross-border trade and accessibility of a wide selection of brands, products, and goods online.
The Significance of 11.11 for Ecommerce
The opportunities on Singles’ Day are unmatched by any other shopping event in the world, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With the continuous growth of cross-border ecommerce, more and more international brands are taking this chance to interact closer with loyal customers, conceptualize exciting product offers and events, and gain valuable consumer insights. Double Eleven is a prominent event that merchants should be planning ahead for if they want to maximize the potential of this non-official holiday.
Singles’ Day goes beyond pushing offers and special promotions. It has become a whole level of experience that challenges brands to come up with creative ways to keep customers hooked. Livestreams are a common activity among brands during Singles’ Day. Ecommerce platforms like Tmall and JD.com have been known to organize huge galas featuring celebrities and influencers. Taylor Swift herself was present in the 2019 Tmall Double 11 Shopping Festival. That year, 500 million customers and 200,000 brands from around the world participated in the Double 11.
Many of the biggest ecommerce platforms, not only in China, but internationally, have leveraged the potential brought about by Singles’ Day. And it’s not just brands that are really benefiting from the event because customers are also treated to the biggest discounts they can find all year.
1. Double 11 gives shoppers the perfect chance to buy mid to high-priced items at big savings and stock up on essentials
2. Singles’ Day is also a great time for brands to clear inventory right before the year ends, as they bank on the potential to earn a significant percentage of their annual sales during the event
3. Even as an unofficial holiday, Double 11 has been established as an important event in the retail calendar. Platforms offering the best Singles’ Day offers are able to gain more traffic and at the same time, increase customer trust and credibility
How Brands Can Prepare for Double 11
Timing your Singles’ Day campaigns is crucial for marketers wishing to capitalize on the shopping event. Customers expect to get the best deals and the biggest discounts at exactly 11.11, but marketers can hype up attention to their major deal offers through pre-orders or releasing teasers about their main Double 11 offers. We see merchants rolling out Singles’ Day campaigns as early as a month prior and promotions often spill over up until the 12th or 13th of November.
China, the country where the Singles’ Day trend originated, remains a sizable market and international brands definitely want a piece of the pie. You’d want to partner with publishers or a marketing agency like PartnerForward, with a solid track record in launching campaigns in the Chinese market.
If you want to jump in on all the fun. here are some ideas your brand can incorporate in your marketing strategy for Double 11:
Release exclusive products and offers
If you’ve been working on a new product or building up to a launch, Singles’ Day would be an ideal time to make an exclusive release. Brands may also highlight products or services that represent the very essence of the occasion, which is the importance of self-love.
Organize an event
Tell your followers all about the Singles’ Day surprises you’re preparing exclusively for them by holding a special event. It can be as simple as a Facebook contest or a full-blown party where participants can celebrate being single or get the chance to meet new people.
Pay attention to your branding.
Double 11 is called a shopping “festival” for a reason. Your branding materials on social media, newsletters, and even your website should be able to highlight a festive mood to attract more attention and drum up anticipation for your Singles’ Day offers.