Thomas Crampton

Next Beta: Social Media's Evolution, Globally

China’s Singles Day: Bigger than US Cyber Monday

Nov 26, 2012

Today’s “Cyber Monday” sales in the United States have been hailed and a landmark moment in e-commerce, with online holiday sales expected to pass US$2 billion.

This certainly seems impressive, until you see what happened this month in China already in relation to “Singles Day”.

My colleague Michele Fan gathered some interesting facts and details about the event, which celebrates bachelorhood.

Singles Day, a self-declared holiday on November 11, inspired 213 million netizens in China to spend US$3.1 billion online within 24-hours. Taobao and TMall, both owned by Alibaba, announced a record day of sales.

This means that just 4% of China’s online population is enough to double the total sales volume of 2011’s Cyber Monday in the US.

Two notable phenomena from Singles Day:
1. 8.5% of all transactions that day were mobile, representing 5% (US$151 million) of total sales.
2. Electronics and clothing brands experienced the largest growth in web traffic and transactions

Should bricks-and-mortar simply migrate online to China?

Here is traffic to major e-commerce sites in China between Oct 28 and Nov 11, 2012 (Click on the image if you actually want to read it):

In related news, eBay seems to be ramping up for China again, by acquiring a Shenzhen-based luxury site.

Alibaba will not give up easily. In May, Alibaba subsidiary rolled out “micro hot buy” – a built-in social buying feature – on Weibo. Recent reports indicate Alibaba intends to further invest in the microblogging

If Weibo investment plan is confirmed, Alibaba will have a grasp of 88% of Chinese online population. Game on?

We look forward to seeing how the China e-commerce space evolves over the next year. But the real questions for brands and online retailers are:

1. How does China e-commerce perform for the rest of the 364 of the year?
2. Is the Singles’ Day growth likely to continue next year?
3. Should the bet be on mobile?

Below is a timeline of what happened at TMall in China on Singles Day, translated by Michele:

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