Once an obscure “Day” pioneered by e-commerce giant Alibaba, and named for unmarried people in China (Singles Day), 11 November rapidly became the biggest shopping day in the world. Nowadays, it has become more of a shopping season, with e-commerce platforms and their merchants now collecting “11.11” orders even before Nov. 11, and waiting until the clock strikes midnight to fire off the orders. For this reason, figures involving orders processed in the first x hours, should be thoughtfully considered. Regardless, retail sales on 11.11 continue to surge and impress.
Last year, online shoppers — still mostly in China, but increasingly elsewhere — enabled Alibaba platforms to rack-up US$18 billion in gross merchandise. This year? Alibaba reported the number of orders across its platforms rose 23 percent, to 812 million, boosting gross merchandise volume (GMV) 39 percent higher than the same day in 2016, to $US 25.3 billion.
Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang agrees that there is more to the holiday than just GMV. “I’ve talked with a lot of brand partners, and all of them recognize the importance of good sales. But more importantly, they know 11.11 isn’t just about sales. It’s about consumer engagement and brand-building,” Zhang said. “Success on 11.11 comes because every participant contributes the best resources, the best products and the best services to customers on that day.”
The No. 2 retailer in terms of GMV, (and No. 1 in terms of revenue) Beijing-based JD.com also fared well during the 11.11 season, with GMV across its platform up by more than 50 percent, to US$19.1 billion for the eleven-day period beginning on Nov. 1.
JD.com said this year’s sales included more than 20,000 tonnes of fresh products, including 2 million hairy crabs and 500,000 Black Tiger shrimp. Between midnight and 4 p.m. on Nov. 11, JD Logistics says it delivered some 6.38 million orders — similar to average daily volumes handled by FedEx Ground on a global basis in Q4.
What follows are additional JD.com statistics regarding the 11.11 holiday.