November is approaching and the countdown has officially begun for the largest e-commerce event in China – and in the whole world – I am obviously referring to 11.11.

But before talking about amazing figures, let’s see what the origin of this event is.

November 11 is also called Singles Day, or a day in which single people are invited to be proud instead of looking for a soul mate.
It all started in the 90s at the University of Nanjing, a group of students decided to create a day when being single would have a positive meaning, a kind of hymn to not being in a couple. It was chosen on November 11th precisely because the numbers 11.11 look like a bunch of solitary sticks.

This idea immediately became popular in China, turning 11.11 into a kind of anti-Valentine’s Day, complete with jokes to discourage couple relationships (for example, booking alternate seats at the cinema during a romantic movie screening, to prevent couples from sitting close).

Over the years it has become a commercial event, whose intrinsic meaning remains the same: to dedicate time to yourself and to what you like, beyond your sentimental state.

Alibaba chose this date in 2009 to create what would become the largest commercial event in the world.

So here we are with the amazing features: in 2019 the total value of sales reached 38 billion dollars. Let’s remember that it all happens in one day. To understand, the same year Amazon recorded net revenue of 70 billion dollars in the third quarter; Alibaba made over half of that number in just 24 hours.
Over 200,000 brands participated in the 2019 shopping festival, including over 22,000 international brands, with one million new products on offer.
According to China’s State Post Bureau, approximately 2.8 billion packages were distributed and delivered in the week following Singles Day in 2019.

Alibaba Group Executive Vice President Joe Tsai then said, “We are seeing the unleashing of Chinese consumer purchasing power” before adding, “We are really seeing the story because we are witnessing the change in the economy – shifting the focus away from status to the consumer. “

What happens is a real show, live-stream parades where you can buy the clothes that the models wear, guests of the thick of Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, acrobats, and of course influencers. Everything is projected online, in an ecosystem that is increasingly based on consumer experience.

Why does this event work so well in China?

First, let’s not forget that China is the largest e-commerce market in the world and Chinese consumers are used to shopping online.
In recent years, e-commerce has increasingly merged with social media, creating what is called “social commerce“. A new ecosystem where consumers rely on the opinions of other consumers or the recommendations of influencers to make purchasing choices.

Alibaba has perfectly grasped every change that the market has required by creating a real online event in which all brands can participate. As evidence of this, in 2019 live streaming sales platforms were much more successful than traditional ones.

In addition to all this, the promotion of the 11.11 event starts weeks before, consumers are given the opportunity to “book” their purchases, creating a sort of “virtual line” to guarantee themselves the best price.

11.11 in 2020, here’s what awaits us:

Strengthened by the economic recovery in China and above all by the e-commerce boom that Covid19 has generated, Alibaba expects that 2 million new products will be involved this year, more than double compared to 2019.
This year, the payment platform Alipay will also be brought into play, which will also allow smaller merchants to participate, involving more second and third-tier cities.

The 2020 Festival will allow merchants to double the promotion of their products not just once, but twice. A new sales window will be added from November 1 to November 3, ahead of the main event on November 11, with the aim of providing sellers, especially new brands and small businesses, the opportunity to showcase their products and tell your story to overcome the pandemic.

To meet the growing demand for international products from Chinese consumers, Tmall Global will bring more than 2,600 new overseas brands to Chinese consumers for the first time. Kaola, Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce platform, will also participate for the first time on 11.11, with products from 89 countries.

Obviously, a big emphasis will be placed on live streaming, with Alibaba already involving 300 celebrities and artists and more than 400 companies that will promote products while entertaining customers on countless platforms.

Taobao Live will offer sessions to promote products ranging from cosmetics, electronics, cars, and homes. New features such as online property views and virtual vehicle test drives have been activated, which will provide a more realistic and engaging experience to help consumers in their purchasing decisions. Alibaba’s DAMO Academy will use artificial intelligence technology to create its first virtual live streaming host, while Fliggy will host travel-related live streams.

This year’s event will have the largest international presence since it was founded in 2009 with AliExpress selling in more than 200 countries and regions around the world.

We will soon find out if Alibaba will be able to break a new record this year, meanwhile, e-commerce and digital promotion in China are confirmed as winning cards to penetrate the country.

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