The Big Fat Singles Day 2015 Pseudo Live Blog

EDITOR’S NOTE: Singles Day 2015 is here, and I was not awake around the clock… so while this is a running blog about Singles Day 2015, and is somewhat in chronological order, I can only say I am pseudo-live blogging the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

Nov. 12, 11 a.m. EST: Alibaba’s Numbers Show the Global Reach of Singles Day

alibaba-top-5-markets-selling-to-chineseAlibaba Group released an infographic which highlights its Singles Day 2015 triumphs (click the image to the right to see the infographic).

Two of the most eye-opening stats have to do with who was buying and who was selling, on a country-by-country basis. And the United States turned out to be a Top 5 Alibaba seller AND buyer this year, after just being a blip on the radar last year.

Alibaba deserves credit for coming into the U.S. this year and making a splash with U.S. brands. It did get retailers including Macy’s, Ocead Spray, and Robert Mondavi Wines on board. In June, Jack Ma did promise he was not coming to America to take away sales, but did help those U.S. brands, and more, grow their global ecommerce sales.

Meanwhile, Newgistics announced last month that it will provide delivery services in the U.S. for products purchased through AliExpress, and in September, Cainiao, Alibaba Group’s logistics affiliate, agreed to work with the United States Postal Service to speed delivery of merchandise ordered by U.S. consumers.

Newgistics and the USPS may want to look at the upcoming week as a warm-up for Cyber Weekend.

Nov. 12, 12:30 a.m. EST: JD.com More than Doubles its Singles Day Sales

JD.com has announced record-breaking one-day results from its Singles Day sale. JD.com saw its number of orders increase by 130%, and an increase in GMV of more than 140%, compared to last year.

With promotions across all categories beginning at midnight for the annual 24-hour event, JD.com saw its order volume yesterday exceed its full-day 2010 Singles Day total in just two minutes, its 2011 Singles Day total in 15 minutes and its 2012 figure in 36 minutes.

At 4:54 am on 11/11, orders on JD.com had surpassed the total number of orders on Singles Day 2013 and just before noon, JD.com topped its total orders for Singles Day 2014. By 6:26 pm JD.com had received more orders than it had for the last five Singles Days combined.

During the day, 74% of total orders were placed via mobile platforms, including JD.com’s native app and through Tencent’s WeChat and Mobile QQ platforms, the increasingly popular social media platforms of choice among China’s growing population of mobile users. More than 52% of first-time customers on JD.com during the day came from WeChat and Mobile QQ.

International brands continued to gain in popularity among JD.com’s shoppers, including top sellers such as Apple, Samsung, Adidas, New Balance, Columbia, The North Face, Philips, Nestle, Mead Johnson and Wyeth, among others.

Nov. 11, 4 p.m. EST: Alibaba Says its Singles Day 2015 Sales Hit $14.3 Billion

So much for an unstable Chinese economy: Alibaba announced that USD $14.3 billion (RMB 91.2 billion) of gross merchandise volume was settled through Alipay on Alibaba’s retail marketplaces, making the 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival the largest shopping day in history. That’s a 60% increase over last Single’s Day total of $9.3 Billion.

Mobile GMV settled through Alipay accounted for 68.7 percent of total GMV. Alipay processed a total of 710 million payment transactions, and processed 85,900 transactions per second at peak. Also, the total number of mobile buyers on Tmall.com and Taobao Marketplace was 95 million.

Here is Alibaba’s highlight reel:

Nov. 11, Noon EST: JD.com Blows Singles Day Out of the Water

Alibaba gets all the Singles Day hype, but let’s take a look at how well JD.com is doing. This series of tweets from @JD_Spokesman paints a picture of its Singles Day growth:

Nov. 11, 11 a.m. EST: Singles Day Paid Search Spend Up, But…

In this blog post from AdGooRoo, Jim Leichenko writes that from a paid search perspective, it’s too early to provide an useful assessment of what’s happening with Singles Day in the U.S. market this year, “but we are most certainly seeing paid search advertising from retailers in the States.”

In October, AdGooRoo found around $2,600 in spend on the Singles Day keywords “singles day,” “singles day sales” and “singles day sale,” but none of it came from retail advertisers. Instead, the bulk of the Singles Day Paid Search spend last month came from online dating sites like southjerseymatchmakers.com and elitesingles.com, who are likely broad matching on the term “singles,” and shenglidigital.com, a consultancy offering guidance for U.S. retailers to participate in Singles Day in the Chinese market.

Nov. 11, 9:30 a.m. EST: Is Old Navy Celebrating Singles Day in the U.S.?

Nov. 11 is Veterans Day here in the United States (Thank you to all those who have served, so that we can have our freedom). I think it’s in poor taste to use Veterans Day as a day for blockbuster sales, but I admire those retailers who use Veterans Day to offer something solely to veterans…

But it IS Singles Day, 11.11, etc. And while it’s hard for retailers to have a Singles Day impact without selling on Tmall or JD.com, Old Navy seems to be giving it the old college try (EMAIL SUBJECT LINE: It’s 11/11! $15 Frost-Free vests + crazy-good deals that dial it up to ELEVEN). So is Japanese fashion retailer UNIQLO (EMAIL SUBJECT LINE: Singles’ day promotion, starting at $1!), whose email also discusses the origins of Singles Day (and awesomely reminds recipients to Treat Your Self!)

ChannelAdvisor Executive Chairman Scot Wingo explained to me in the below video, taken last month at the Shop.org Digital Summit, that U.S. retailers could try to run their own 11.11 offers in hopes of capturing the Chinese customer, but it’s not really advised:

Nov. 11, 5 a.m. EST: Alibaba Group Exceeds 2014 11.11 Total GMV, Generating USD 10 Billion within 14 Hours

Daniel Zhang remarks from Hangzhou headquarters (Alibaba Group photo).
Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group addressed remarks through video from Alibaba Hangzhou headquarters to media center in the Water Cube (Alibaba Group photo).

And the $9.3 billion record, set last year, has been crushed…

Alibaba Group Holding Limited announced that USD 10 billion (approximately RMB 63.6 billion) of GMV was settled through Alipay on Alibaba’s China and international retail marketplaces as of 2:05 p.m. China Time during the 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. Mobile GMV settled through Alipay accounted for 70% of the USD 10 billion.

The huge news here is about mobile commerce: At 2:00 p.m. China Time, mobile GMV settled through Alipay was USD 7.1 billion (approximately RMB 44.9 billion); and the total number of mobile buyers was more than 70 million.

Cainiao Logistics, the logistics affiliate of Alibaba Group, received 310 million delivery orders, exceeding the 278 million orders generated last year on 11.11.

Nov. 10, 11:30 p.m. EST: You Can’t Do That On (American) Television

And Alibaba’s star-studded showcase is on the air in China. Alizila, Alibaba Group’s site for news and commentary, posted an article and photos for its warm-up gala for the 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. It was broadcast on television, and live streamed for a mobile audience as well.

Daniel Craig (Bond… James Bond) made a live appearance, and former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert performed. And while Kevin Spacey was unable to attend, he did make a video appearance… as Frank Underwood:

Even though Amazon has its Fire Stick, and could very easily do something like this to promote Prime Day in 2016, I just don’t see it happening.

Nov. 10, 3 p.m. EST: Alibaba Group Generated USD 5 Billion in GMV in First 90 Minutes of Singles Day

Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA) announced that USD 5 billion (approximately RMB 31.8 billion) of GMV was settled through Alipay on Alibaba’s China and international retail marketplaces in the first 90 minutes of the 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

In the hours leading up to the official midnight start of the Alibaba Group 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, almost 130 million users visited the Mobile Taobao app, exceeding the peak volume during the 2014 11.11 Shopping Festival.

Early highlights include:

  • Total GMV settled through Alipay exceeded USD 5 billion (RMB 31.8 billion)  in the first 90 minutes, and mobile GMV settled through Alipay accounted for 72% of total GMV;
  • Total GMV settled through Alipay was USD 3.9 billion (approximately RMB 24.8 billion) in the first hour;
  • Mobile GMV settled through Alipay was USD 2.9 billion (approximately RMB 18.3 billion) in the first hour, which accounted for 73.9% of total GMV, compared to 45.7% of total GMV within the first hour of last year’s 11.11 shopping festival; and
  • Total number of mobile buyers was more than 27 million in the first hour.

Additional highlights from the Alibaba Group 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival include:

  • Total GMV settled through Alipay exceeded USD 1 billion (approximately RMB 6.36 billion) within the first eight minutes;
  • Total GMV settled through Alipay exceeded USD 2 billion (approximately RMB 12.7 billion) in 17 minutes and 29 seconds; and

Total GMV settled through Alipay exceeded the total GMV of Alibaba’s 2012 11.11 Shopping Festival of USD 3.1 billion within 31 minutes.

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