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Singles' Day 光棍节 2019 in Review.

Singles' Day 光棍节 2019 in Review.
By ChinaBriefs Team • Issue #7 • View online
Hello from Beijing & Hamburg,
welcome to this month’s issue of the ChinaBriefs Newsletter with just one topic: the bare sticks holiday 光棍节 - also called Double11, Alibaba’s “Global Shopping Festival” or Singles’ Day.
With a couple of weeks distance, we want to give you an overview of what happened this year: all record numbers, our observations from within China and some interesting articles covering the biggest shopping spree ever.
Btw, you can find all newsletter content also in the ChinaBriefs Weblog, including the review of Singles’ Day 2019.
As always, we are looking forward to any kind of feedback!! So pls send us an email ( or leave a comment on one of our channels on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.
Thx & best wishes
B. & M.

1. This Year's Numbers & Records.
Sales / Gross Merchandise Value (GMV):
For comparison - online sales in the U.S. for the 5 day period from Thanksgiving to CyberMonday in 2019: $28 billion.
GMV of Alibaba vs
GMV of Alibaba vs
Brands & Products (Data from Alibaba):
  • Over 200.000 participating brands with over 1 million new products.
  • Top Brands: Apple, Bose, Gap, H&M, L'Oreal, Nike, Uniqlo.
  • 15 brands with a GMV of more than RMB 1 billion ($143 mio).
  • China’s State Post Bureau said a total of 2.8 billion packages are expected to be handled from Nov. 11. to 18.
  • Number of Tmall orders already delivered between midnight to 8am on Nov. 11.: 100 million packages.
IT-/ Cloud-Infrastructure (From Alibaba Cloud)
Peak order rate for 11-11-2019: 544,000 orders/second
2. Our Observations from within China.
It has been another crazy Singles’ Day in China. Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao platforms were off to a great start from the very beginning raking in its first RMB 10 billion ($1.43 billion) in sales after 96 seconds - faster than the 125 seconds last year - and the first RMB 100 billion ($14.3 billion) in the first 64 minutes. So People started buying everything from toilet paper to furniture to cosmetics & tech gadgets right at midnight after all the discounts went into effect. Because of the long wait until midnight, many companies allowed employees to come in late for work the next morning.
Even though surveys seemed to indicate that American brands would be shunned by Chinese consumers. This in fact didn’t happen. American products did well and were only outsold by Japanese brands. And because nearly a quarter of retailers in the U.S. planned to run promotions for Singles’ Day as well, many Chinese netizens were joking on various WeChat groups that someone should have registered a trademark for “Singles’ Day” and start charging the Americans a license fee for using it.
Livestreaming has become the hottest trend in China’s ecommerce and forms a big part of the shopping experience on Chinese e-commerce sites. During live-streaming online personalities often speak to their followers and talk about products as well. During 11-11 the biggest two names in live-streaming - lipstick-selling Austin Li and fashion diva Viya - had a head to head competition:
Viya won by a huge margin selling merchandise worth RMB 335 million ($48 million) against Austin with “only” RMB 200 million ($28 million). Fifty percent of merchants claimed that live-streaming has become their most important area of growth. Taobao Live alone recorded sales of RMB 20 billion ($2.85 billion) - accounting for around 7.5% of Alibaba’s overall sales.
Another important trend that could be observed during this year’s shopping extravaganza was the strong purchasing power coming from lower tier cities and villages. According to Jiang Fan, CEO of Tmall/Taobao, more than 77% of 100 million new customers on the platforms this year came from those cities. Also, half of all orders for iPhone 11 and Huawei Mate30 Pro originated there. This is relevant as Alibaba needs to find ever more pockets of growth going forward. 
One other interesting aspect is the way Alibaba combines the shopping frenzy with lots of entertainment to make sure that the audience/consumers don’t get bored - while Amazon during PRIME day solely relies on the lure of discounted prices.
So 11-11-2019 ended with a huge live gala featuring international stars like Taylor Swift:
Taylor Swift - Live Performance at TMall 11/11 Shopping Festival 2019
Taylor Swift - Live Performance at TMall 11/11 Shopping Festival 2019
But the audience wasn’t just passively watching the show! Through Alibaba’s flagship Tmall app they had various opportunities to interact with the gala by shaking their phones for winning prizes, voting on certain things and of course buying exclusive deals.
Despite all the craziness, one of the biggest concerns was the impact on the environment. A “Green Singles’ Day” had been flouted by Alibaba prior to the festivities, but many netizens complained that these were only lip services. More than one billion orders are causing an enormous strain on resources. How this will be addressed in the future is one of the big questions that no one seems to have an answer for, but a lot of people are asking.
For now, let the couriers safely deliver the packages to their destinations and hope few will be returned. Busy times.
Ashley G Dudarenok
Beijing university’s campus handling the delivery of Single’s Day purchases. 😃🚀 This was just one out of many pick up location on campus. 🙈🙈🙈

#china #double11 #ashleytalks #ecommerce #alibaba
Key Takeways from 11-11-2019 besides big numbers:
  • While Amazon relies for PRIME day solely on the attraction of discounts, Alibaba combines lower prices with lots of entertainment to keep interest in Singles’ Day high.
  • Online sales through Live-Streaming was big this year accounting for around 7.5% of Alibaba’s overall sales.
  • The lower tier (smaller) cities are more and more catching up and provide a huge domestic growth potential for Chinese companies.
  • Once again Chinese companies prove that they can scale in a way that is second to none - especially when it come to IT-/Cloud-infrastructure and logistics.
3. Further reading.
If you are looking for additional material on 11-11-2019, here are some postings & articles we would recommend:
How Chinese Consumers Shop for 11.11
How Chinese Consumers Shop for 11.11
4. ChinaBriefs Recommendations.
aecal Shenzhen Exploration Tour - March 2020
Visit Shenzhen in March 2020 and experience what Silicon Valley was 10 years ago: a showcase to the future!
The aecal Shenzhen Exploration Tour starts and ends in Hong Kong. In Shenzhen, visits to large companies such as HUAWEI, BYD, NIO, DJI, PING AN as well as encounters with founders and entrepreneurs at private dinner events are on the programme. We meet Chinese representatives of generations Z, Y, X to understand what apps they have on their smartphones and how they use them. We visit accellerators and VCs to understand the subtleties of the local start-up ecosystem and experience tours through specific shopping malls and new retail concepts, as well as through the famous Huaqiangbei Electronics Market, which is at the heart of the extremely short hardware innovation cycles.
China Focus @ San Francisco - Jan 12, 2020
China Focus @ San Francisco is the largest China-themed investing and partnering event for opportunities in China’s healthcare and life sciences industry right before the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.
More than 600 business leaders from China and around the world will come to find innovations and partners. It provides a valuable opportunity for attendees to make 1-on-1 meetings and build relations with the Chinese decision-makers from the industry.
ChinaBriefs Discount-Codes:
  • General Admission ($150 off): ChinaBriefs_CF2020SF
  • Company presentation ($300 off): ChinaBriefs_SFPRESENT
Did you enjoy this issue?
ChinaBriefs Team

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