Amazon finally has a retail rival, but it is not here in the U.S. It is called Alibaba and it is China’s largest online retail platform. And if we thought Black Friday was big, it can’t hold a candle(stick) to Singles Day or November 11.
In 1993, some Chinese university students created a day called Singles Day to celebrate their un-attachment, and they chose 11/11 because the numbers resembled singular sticks standing together. The first name for the day was “stick day.” Since that time, Singles Day has become the largest online retail day in the world, at over $17.8 billion last year in 24 hours, which is larger than Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day combined.
Alibaba uses its Tmall platform with thousands of promotional items and specials to help drive sales each year. Advertisers utilize China’s WeChat platform, which is like Facebook, Twitter and PayPal all rolled into one program, to help hype Singles Day and their products. But with over 140,000 special items, it can be difficult for brands to stand out. Many companies have shifted into high gear with celebrity endorsements and other incentives to capture shoppers’ attention. And Alibaba has added 60 pop-up stores in malls throughout the larger cities in China for this day.
And it is not just for the Chinese. Chinese-Americans are also in the game, and employees at retailers such as Macy’s and Nordstrom are also using the WeChat platform in the U.S. to reach out to their loyal customers and help drive them into their stores.
CVR is an active member of AMIN, a network of communication agencies from around the world, and we have two partners in China. According to Elson China, our Shanghai-based partner, there is ample opportunity for U.S.- and U.K.-based companies to sell products to Chinese consumers on Singles Day and every day via Alibaba and WeChat. If you have a product or service that you want to get in front of one of the largest consumer markets in the world, give us a call. We can help.