Monday, Nov. 11, kicks off Singles Day, the largest online shopping day by total spend in one day in the world.

Chinese marketplace giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. invented the shopping holiday Singles Day in 2009 to encourage people not in relationships to embrace a single lifestyle.

The event, now in its 11th year, has grown into a shopping phenomenon. And last year, Alibaba generated $30.80 billion of gross merchandise volume on Nov. 11.

 

And this is just sales via its marketplaces, Taobao (No. 1 in the ranking of Internet Retailer Online Marketplaces) and Tmall (No. 2), and doesn’t account for sales by other Chinese online merchants on Singles Day. Similar to Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Day shopping event, many retailers in China seek to capitalize on the shopping mindset of consumers and run big sales on and around Nov. 11.

Alibaba’s largest competitor JD.com Inc., for example, says it sold $23 billion Nov. 1-11, 2018. This year, JD.com (No. 4 in Online Marketplaces) announced it is opening a 538,195-square-foot store, which will offer 10s of thousands of Singles Day specials.

By comparison, Alibaba’s two marketplaces generated more sales on Singles Day 2018 than all U.S. shoppers spent online during the Cyber 5 weekend of Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday 2018. Here’s how the major shopping holidays stack up:

 

For 2019, Alibaba projects 100 more consumers will shop on Singles Day compared with last year, totaling more than 500 million shoppers. Alibaba also says more than 200,000 brands will participate in the 2019 event, up from 170,000 last year, and 1 million products will be on sale. Alibaba declined to project sales volume for Singles Day 2019.

Possible Singles Day sales slowdown

Mobile app measurement firm App Annie projects that Alibaba will bring in $37 billion on Singles Day, which would be a 20.1% increase over last year’s sales. The large majority of these sales will be on mobile, App Annie says. The vendor factors in macro-economic trends, historical trends and shopping app growth into its estimates, says Lexi Sydow, senior market insights manager at App Annie.

“App Annie does predict growth will be slower than last year, but that’s expected given the larger base it’s building off from last year’s record highs in sales,” Sydow says. “We do predict this year will be the biggest year yet, with a sizable increase from last year.”

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