Today is Singles' Day, the biggest shopping holiday of the year. Started in 1993 by a group of Chinese university students, it began as a day to celebrate singledom (hence the date, 11.11). Thanks in no small part to AliBaba's promotional efforts, it has now become the biggest single shopping day of the year, worth more than Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day combined. Last year sales on Singles' Day topped £40 billion and stars including Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Earvin "Magic" Johnson have promoted this year's event.
Singles' Day offers huge opportunities for those brands (both Chinese and Western) operating in China; it has also started gaining popularity amongst Western consumers (for example asos.com are offering 20% off sitewide this Singles' Day). However with opportunities come risks; AliBaba alone experienced 2.2 billion cyber attacks on Singles' Day last year. This included malicious complaints, abnormal transactions and counterfeit listings.
Singles' Day is here to stay, and will grow and grow; but, as always, brands need to make sure they are putting robust procedures in place to combat infringement.
Swift’s appearance — which comes on the back of her in-person performance at 2019’s Singles’ Day Gala — is a sign that the Alibaba-backed “festival” is still reaching for global stars, even as travel restrictions make the usual international guest appearances unlikely.