With $25 billion in sales, this year’s Singles’ Day blew the 2016 record out of the water. While we’re still buzzing, let’s take a look at what happened and how our team helped ‘deliver the smile in the last mile’ for the biggest online sales event the planet’s ever seen.
By Charles Brewer, CEO, DHL eCommerce.
Singles’ Day 2017 started with a bang. Not only were there stars aplenty at Alibaba’s glitzy opening ceremony, there was also a billion dollars’ worth of pre-order sales in the first two minutes – reaching $10 billion in just over an hour. At the half way point, sales had hit $18 billion. The final total was more than the GDP of 88 of the 220 countries and territories that DHL serve globally!
This year’s anti-Valentine’s Day sales extravaganza didn’t just break records by the hour, it also heralded a whole host of new retail technology. Alibaba transformed 100,000 Chinese shops into smart stores and showcased virtual reality dressing rooms and ‘FashionAI’ screens that interact with customers as they try on their clothes.
According to Forbes, Alibaba listed some 15 million products this year and over 140,000 brands took part. 1.48 billion payments were processed through Alipay, Alibaba’s online payment platform, and 90% of those were done on mobile phones.
The world’s largest retailer wasn’t the only one breaking records. Lazada (which is admittedly part owned by Alibaba) experienced 10 times the sales volumes it does on normal days in Thailand, and generated $123 million in gross merchandise value. Popular items included electronics, diapers and women’s fashion items.
JD.com, China’s second largest etailer, said their Singles’ Day sales reached $19.14 billion, up 50% over last year. Alibaba’s rapidly growing competitor began its sales event on November 1 to reduce delivery bottlenecks and give shoppers more time to peruse the bargains. Fresh foods and cosmetics were the most popular categories: some 500,000 Thailand black tiger shrimps and 55 million facial masks were sold over the course of the sales.
Alibaba listed some 15 million products this year and over 140,000 brands took part.
But behind all the glitz and glamour, state-of-the-art technology, and unbeatable bargains, the hard work fell to companies like ours. Once consumers click buy, it’s up to us to deliver the goods to their doorsteps with a smile!
Singles Day has been such a success that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Increasingly, we see the 11/11 effect stretching beyond China. While we continue to witness double the parcel volumes this year in China, we see Southeast Asia catching on rapidly. In Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, e-tailers lapped up the buzz and excitement of 11/11 and heavily marketed special deals and discounts this very same day. And consumers were obviously happy and scrambling to get the best deals – so much that we saw an unprecedented five-fold increase in our volumes this very special day. This new record simply shows that more people are getting more confident in buying online.
I’m proud to say that our teams across Asia did a fantastic job. Despite the mountain of orders, they pulled together to deliver the smile in the last mile.
It’s proved that we can cope with whatever kind of peak business dares to throw our way – even the biggest online sales event in history. And now that we’ve conquered Singles’ Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and 12/12 will be a ‘peak’ of cake!
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