The US$18 billion Singles’ Day opportunity Canadian brands need to get right

Singles’ Day, or Double 11 Online Shopping Festival, officially ended on Nov 11th at 11:00 AM Toronto time, breaking a whole new set of records. Gross merchandise volume reached 1 billion Yuan (around 0.15 billion US dollars) in the first 52 seconds, and eventually stopped at US$17.8 billion at the end of the day –  up 24% from $14.3 billion the previous year. This figure is sure to be double the combined e-commerce sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S.

Ma Yun, CEO of Alibaba, speaking at the media centre

Ma Yun, CEO of Alibaba, speaking at the media centre

The difference we see this year, however, is its growing impact on the global market. According to AliExpress, the global online trading platform affiliated to Alibaba, more than 6.2 million overseas consumers generated 35.8 million orders, covering 230 countries and regions. Consumers from Russia, Spain, United States and France were especially active amongst all.  Commenting on this year’s growth trend, Ma Yun said he thought Double 11 should become a global festival.

Established in 2009, Double 11 is already in its 7th year. Uniqlo, for instance, received tremendous success from its Double 11 sales on TMall – a clear signal to brands that don’t yet have an official store on Alibaba’s TMall that they can’t sit on the fence any more. In Canada, more brands joined the bandwagon, trying to tap into this gigantic shopping spree with online ads and promotions. For example, Kielh’s was giving out 3 free samples and $11 off with promo code “SINGLE”. The Bay also ran print ads in Sing Tao Newspaper.

Real and measurable success from a Singles’ Day campaign requires deep understanding of its core audience’ habits, attitudes and perception as well as compelling communications concept and messaging through relevant platforms to trigger action.  With a more strategic approach based on authentic audience insights, brands can be sure of the “North America Double 11” breaking even more records next year.

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