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Alibaba ‘doubles up’ for Singles Day 2020

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Holding Group Ltd. is offering a new shopping window and more livestreaming and international sales for the world’s largest online sales event.

The 24-hour 11.11 Global Shopping Festival shopping extravaganza (popularly known as “Singles Day”), held every Nov. 11 since 2009, routinely generates higher gross merchandise value (GMV) than Amazon’s similar Prime Day online sales event, estimated to have generated more than $10 billion this year. In 2019, Singles Day generated an estimated $38.4 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV).

New features of the 2020 edition of Singles Day include expanding the concept from “single” to “double,” enabling participating retailers to promote their products to consumers across China twice. Alibaba is adding a new sales window from Nov. 1-3, ahead of the main event on Nov. 11. The retailer especially hopes to provide new companies and small businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and tell their brand stories.

Livestreaming is expected to play a larger role in this year’s event. In addition to sessions hosted by top livestreamers, about 400 company executives and 300 celebrities will also hold individual livestreaming sessions. Alibaba’s Taobao Live mobile livestreaming marketplace will offer sessions for products including cosmetics, electronics, cars, and houses. 

New livestreaming features like online property viewings and virtual vehicle test drives are designed to provide more realistic and engaging experience to help consumers with their buying decisions. Alibaba’s DAMO Academy research institute will use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to create its first virtual livestreaming host, while Alibaba’s Fliggy travel services platform will host travel-related livestreams.

Singles Day is also slated to have its largest international presence since it was founded in 2009. Alibaba’s AliExpress, Lazada, and LazMall international online retail platforms now sell to more than 200 combined countries and regions worldwide. Lazada will continue offering “shoppertainment” features ranging from livestreaming to new consumer games and voice search to find items.

The digital lifestyle platform of Alibaba’s Alipay mobile commerce solution will enable nearly 2 million local service providers to offer special promotions in more than 100 Chinese cities. Offline small- and micro-merchants across China, such as street stalls and neighborhood grocery stores, will also be able to participate in 11.11 by connecting with consumers through Alipay’s digital lifestyle platform.

To meet Chinese consumers’ increasing demand for international products, Alibaba’s Tmall Global import platform will bring more than 2,600 new overseas brands to Chinese consumers for the first time. Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce platform Kaola will also join 11.11 for the first time, featuring products from 89 countries and regions. More than 250,000 brands are participating in this year’s event, and more than 2 million new products will be introduced, double the amount compared to 2019. 

“Innovation lies at the heart of the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, and we are more committed than ever to empower businesses to capture opportunities and growth through new ideas and initiatives in this year full of challenges,” said Jiang Fan, president of Taobao and Tmall. “The pandemic has fundamentally changed consumer shopping preferences and accelerated digital transformation of many businesses. Through our expansion from ‘single’ to ‘double,’ 11.11 will be offering more opportunities for merchants both online and offline to engage with consumers as well as provide a better consumer experience overall.” 

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