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Study: Singles’ Day 2017 is expected to break new records

Alibaba is preparing to reach new goals during its upcoming Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza.

This year, 140,000 brands, including more than 60,000 international brands, are participating in Singles’ Day, up from 100,000 last year. These brands will be able to showcase their products to more than half a billion Chinese consumers on Alibaba’s platforms, according to “Countdown to Singles’ Day 2017, Part 4: Singles’ Day vs. US Shopping Holidays,” a report form Fung Global Retail & Tech.

The sale, which the Chinese e-commerce giant initially launched as a way for “single” individuals to celebrate their autonomy by shopping online, debuted as a 24-hour event in 2009. The day-long shopping event has become so popular that it is the world's largest shopping day of the year — even eclipsing all the major one-day shopping holidays in United States retail, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day, the report said.

Since the event’s introduction eight years ago, other e-commerce players in China have gotten in on the game, including, which launched its first Singles’ Day sales in 2010. Based on increased momentum, Singles’ Day sales are forecast to surpass last year’s $17.8 billion (up 32% from $14.3 billion in 2015), the report said.

On average, shoppers plan to spend $324 (U.S. dollars) during this year’s shopping festival. Those who indicated they will start shopping early tend to have a higher budget. Shoppers lured by pre-sales — some which launched three or two weeks prior to the event — have budgets of $454 and $349, respectively, according to another Fung report, “Deep Dive: Countdown to Singles’ Day Part 3 — Global Shopping Festival 2017 Preview.”

However, many Singles’ Day shoppers planned to delay some or all of their purchases until the big event. Those intending to buy electronics (73%) and apparel (71%) said they will hold off on purchasing, according to the third installment of the report.

While the event is known for deep discounts offered by retailers, online shoppers are no longer focusing on price alone. Some 81% of surveyed shoppers indicated they value quality over price this year.

Another area that shoppers will be keeping an eye on this year is logistics. Despite various efforts made by the online retailers, such as increasing the number of delivery personnel and capacity during the festival period, 64% of shoppers said that improving delivery times is necessary. Due to poor logistics, 32% of 2016 Singles’ Day shoppers canceled their order because of long waiting times.

Another issue was product exchanges. Some 17% of surveyed shoppers said they exchanged an item last year, while 14% said they requested a refund. The good news is a vast majority of Singles’ Day shoppers were neutral or satisfied with their refund or exchange experience, and only 7% of surveyed shoppers indicated they were not satisfied.

While 25% of surveyed Singles Day shoppers requested refunds or exchanged products last year, even more shoppers expect to do so this year. Some 48% of shoppers said they will likely have to request a refund or exchange.

The gap between requesting a refund and expecting to request a refund or exchange indicates that online shoppers are not yet fully confident in the quality of products being sold during Singles’ Day, the report added.
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