What used to be known as “Singles Day” in China has been redefined and rebranded as “The 11/11 Global Shopping Festival” by the holiday’s e-commerce patron saint, Alibaba, and with good reason. This year’s 11/11 is going glam, global and digital.
Nine years ago, Alibaba used Singles Day to offer massive discounts to draw consumers to their platforms Taobao and then Tmall. Last year, it became the largest single-day retail event in human history, producing $14.3 billion in sales for Alibaba.
This year, the e-commerce giant will likely sell between $17 and $20 billion worth of goods in 24 hours. There will also be a celebrity-filled gala in Shenzhen, China to count down the hours to 11/11, the culmination of a three-week lead up full of new technology roll-outs, special events and new market openings.
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Some of the best known brands and retailers from around the world will be active participants this year and those who aren’t, had best pay close attention and start making plans to take part next year, because their future could be at stake.
The initial draw of Singles day was the massive discounts, but it takes much more for brands to be successful today.
Selling directly to China’s 600 million online shoppers is important, but 11/11 is also “the most critical opportunity for brands to connect and engage with Chinese consumers, to build awareness and relationships for thee long term” says Denise Sabet, manager of Labbrand in New York.
The new Global Shopping Festival will draw plenty of attention with its expected records sales, the number and quality of foreigner and domestic brands taking part, and the sheer scale and numbers of consumers taking part.
Alibaba has hired Hollywood producer David Hill, known for his work on the Oscars, Super Bowl and American Idol, to direct and produce the event. Katy Perry, Kobe Bryant and One Republic have already been announced to be global ambassadors.
The slickly-produces show and celebrities will ensure global coverage.