What We Learned From This Year’s 11.11

Singles’ Day has become the biggest online shopping event in the world. Alibaba nearly doubled sales from last year reaching $74.1B, while JD.com hit nearly $41Billion in sales. At its peak, Alibaba’s platform handled 583,00 orders per second with 250,000 brands participating, 31,000 of which were overseas.

So how did this “made-up” holiday, which was originally started as the antithesis to Valentine’s Day, become the largest ecommerce buying event in the world?

For starters, 11.11 was not a single day event. This year, we saw a longer sales cycle with deals starting as early as Nov 1 all the way through 11.11. This aligns with global trends we’re seeing similar to Prime Day now lasting 48 hours and Black Friday spanning across 5 days, or longer in some cases.

Covid-19 inevitably played a role in this year’s growth through new habits from consumers leaning more heavily on e-commerce. Travel retail, typically an outlet for purchase power in the country, was limited in the beginning of the year driving more personal budget to this shopping holiday. This year also saw a large spike in customers coming from Tier-3 cities (those with populations less than 5 million) which increased the sheer volume of shoppers tuning in to D11. 

Additionally, some interesting category trends we saw this year include:

Domestic tourism - There is an increased enthusiasm for domestic tourism throughout China. The pre-emption of Beijing Universal studios sold out in only two minutes while Hainan Airline achieved 80 million GMV through its live broadcasting.

Family care - Examination packages to medicines to health care products. IKang’s physical examination package became one of the top 5 products during the D11 pre-sale and JD.com launched the “Family Care Plan” which included family health care packages.

Home design – Alibaba launched the housing decoration platform and planned to work with more than 200 brand in 100+ cities.

Automotive – With more than 50 automotive brands offering sales during D11, there were thousands of cars sold, with a big emphasis on electric cars.

Agriculture – You’ve heard of farm to table, but this year D11 drove farm to ecommerce. Alibaba upgraded agricultural digital solutions from production to sales to create “Super Agriculture IP.”

Whether a brand is looking to succeed during upcoming 11.11s or any other dedicated shopping time of the year, there are a few best practices that are likely to live beyond 2020.

Livestreaming Takes Center Stage – Ecommerce brands turned increasingly to livestreaming this year including with 400,300 company executives and celebrities joining in for livestreaming events on 11.11. This is a trend that we can expect is here to stay and will likely land throughout the globe’s top e-commerce sites.

Short video as the new normal – Shoppers are expecting short videos more than static imagery on ecommerce sites and we saw that brands use short videos for promotion or as the hero video on their page.

New products exclusively launched on 11.11 – Two million brand new products were launched this year. Brands like L’Oreal worked with TMIC (Tmall Innovation Center) created specific products created to address current trends for an 11.11 launch. This creates on-trend factory to the shopper selling, which reduces costs and increases sales. Several of these newly launched products also supported efforts through their loyalty programs which offered members higher value than non-members.

With holiday shopping around the globe shifting into high gear, brands from around the world can turn to Singles’ Day to try to emulate some of the success we’ve seen this 11.11.