Everything You Need to Know About 11/11 AKA Singles Day—The World’s Most Popular Online Shopping Day

Everything You Need to Know About 11/11 Aka Singles Day—The World’s Most Popular Online Shopping Day

Xinyao Liu

January 6, 2022

11/11, November 11th started as an unofficial holiday in China to celebrate single people. The holiday is referred to as Singles Day, Bachelor’s Day, and double 11. In Chinese, a single person with no branches to the family tree resembles the numeral   “Asian demography: The flight from marriage”.  The Economist. Seoul and Taipei. August 20th, 2011. 

Initially created by the online shopping giant Alibaba to target younger generations, the holiday’s popularity skyrocketed and soon, more and more e-commerce and social media platforms were inviting store owners to celebrate by offering discounts and gifts. By incentivizing the sellers with attractive subsidies and the buyers with deep discounts, they created a perfect storm.

Even Alibaba’s rivals like JD, Pinduoduo have all joined in the furor and are marketing 11/11 as the biggest online shopping season. Now there are companies like 11th Street and Qoo10 SG in China’s neighbors South Korea and Singapore that promote 11/11 on their mainstream platforms. Amazon has also joined the bandwagon in recent years and started promoting 11/11 deals starting this year.

In October 2013, Alibaba registered “double 11”, in Chinese (双十一), as a trademark and released a statement the following year that double 11 cannot be used by any other entity commercially. However, this did not stop other platforms from taking advantage of “double 11” to market to a rising online shopping consumer base.

Online shopping, which was already trending among Chinese consumers, only became more so after the pandemic. This trend can also be observed in other countries. However, to this day, no other shopping season has been able to out perform “double 11” in total sales. This is even true when comparing it to the combined sales results of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  

Singles Day: how it works and a look at the numbers

In 2021, the Singles Day or “double 11” pre-sale started on October 20th with the option to put in a down payment on the products and lock in a purchase beginning November 1st. Leading up to November 11th, there were three rounds of discounts and coupons released by the sellers and platforms to ease the shipping pressure on logistics providers. Multiple platforms participated in the festival, including Alibaba Group, JD, Weidian, Dangdang, vip.com. Discounts were given on products from all industries including, cosmetics, clothing, furniture, electronics, traveling, and even food & beverage. 

While there has been a steady growth in sales since inception, 2021 marks the 13th “double 11” shopping season with a dramatically higher transaction record than the previous year. By November 12th, 2021, Tmall alone had transactions for 540.3 billion RMB, (85 billion USD), an increase of 8.45% compared to 2020.  JD climbed to 349.1 billion RMB (55 billion USD), an increase of 28.58% compared to the previous year.  

Live streaming shopping: new trends bring new risks

Live stream shopping sessions are the latest hype on various marketplaces and social media platforms, such as Taobao/Tmall and Douyin. Within the first half of 2020, live stream shopping sessions reached a staggering 327.4 billion CNY in transactions.  

There are two main types of live streaming shopping sessions: one hosted by direct brand representatives offering products with extra discounts and gifts, and another hosted by professional live streamers who promote a wide range of products from various brands, like movie tickets, Starbucks coupons and hotel rooms.  

Online celebrities partner with brands for a substantial chunk of commissions in return for their influence and ability to generate higher traffic. In 2020, a popular host named Viya sold a rocket launching service during one of her live stream shopping sessions.  

How brand abusers take advantage of Singles Day

Since there are so many sellers participating in Singles Day, infringers comfortably slip in and take advantage of the opportunity. Some claim they represent a legitimate brand owner’s store, but they sell counterfeits, exploiting the brand’s reputation with attractive low prices. The sheer volume of sales that happens during this shopping season considerably increases the opportunities for IP infringements. 

With the growing consumption capacity of Chinese consumers, domestic and foreign brands are witnessing increasing demand. This has encouraged counterfeiters and infringers to profit from selling knock-off versions of popular international brands. They target everything from low end consumer goods to luxury items to even pharmaceuticals and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). From parallel import to outright copying, infringers use many methods to take advantage and steal profits from lucrative luxury brands. 

Brands, therefore, need to look out for themselves and their customer base to avoid a double whammy of lost revenue and unhappy customers. In such a scenario, traditional brand protection strategies prove to be of little use since they are often short-sighted, rigid, and unsustainable. There is a definite need for brands to embrace modern brand protection tools like LexisNexis Brand Protection powered by Appdetex, to develop new strategies and provide a safe online experience for their customers. Only then can they stay resilient to the new wave of bad actors. 

Here’s a complimentary checklist to help you make sure your brand is resilient to bad actors. 

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