Single’s Day: World’s Biggest Shopping Day Sets New Record

If you thought last year’s Singles Day record was impressive …

If you still think Singles Day is for other e-commerce sellers …

Or if at this moment you’re thinking: “Singles Day?” …

Well …

Keep reading. There are some insights below that you won’t want to miss.

Put simply: This year’s 24-hour online shopping holiday blew all previous records to bits. But even as the world’s largest annual e-commerce event becomes so incredibly BIG, many sellers outside of China are just starting to learn about the massive revenue potential of Singles Day.

At ChannelAdvisor, it’s our goal to ensure retailers and brands are primed to maximize international sales opportunities — on Singles Day and all year long.

What is Singles Day, and Why is it So Big?

Each year, as brands and retailers are ferociously planning for Click Frenzy, Black Friday promotions and Cyber Monday deals, Chinese shoppers gear up to spend billions of dollars on everything from smartphones to shoes to a lifetime supply of alcohol.

Originally started by students in China, Singles Day was established in the 1990s as a way to celebrate singledom on the symbolic date of 11/11. It was the anti-Valentine’s Day, complete with exchanges of small gifts.

Then Chinese marketplace giant Alibaba trademarked the name, and everything changed. Single’s Day is now the largest eCommerce event the world’s ever seen, and is four times bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. The annual shopping frenzy kicks off at midnight and features 24 hours of steep discounts driven by  Tmall, Alibaba’s online retail platform.

Over the past several years, the number of participating sellers has expanded from a handful of marketplace merchants to more than 140,000 brands and retailers (including 60,000 international) selling some 15 million products.

What Happened This Year?

On 11 November 2017, Alibaba amassed US$25.3 billion in gross merchandise volume. The US$1 billion mark was hit within an astounding two minutes.

Meanwhile, this year’s Singles Day had just hit the halfway mark when sales soared past the $17.8 billion generated in 2016. By the time all sales were said and done, the final tally was 40% higher than last year’s record. Australia was the third-largest source of sales, highlighting the growing strength of Australia’s consumer product trade with China. 

Even more impressive: As 1.5 billion transactions were processed, 167 sellers each generated over US$15 million in sales, and 17 merchants surpassed the US$75 million mark.

What’s Next?

It’s important to note that Singles Day is not just for Chinese brands — far from it, in fact. More than 40% of this year’s sellers came from outside China. And while Single’s Day still mostly targets Chinese consumers, it’s popularity is spreading to other countries. Last year, for example, the volume of online orders by Chinese Americans increased 900%

Perhaps most importantly, Chinese consumers turn to international e-commerce sellers throughout the year as they seek out apparel, electronics, home goods and more. Prior to Single’s Day, eMarketer was forecasting overall online sales from the world’s largest e-commerce market to reach US$1.13 trillion.

So even if you missed out on this year’s Singles Day, there are plenty of ways to get in the game before next November.

Ready to start selling to Chinese shoppers? ChannelAdvisor’s integration with VoyageOne allows you to sell on Liking, a Tmall Global marketplace that sells goods from merchants directly to online consumers in China. Call us on 1 300 887 239 or email us on for more information.

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