Growth
5 mins

Singles' Day 2022: Prepping your e-commerce brand for Singles' Day success

Singles' Day is the biggest shopping day in the world but little known outside of Asia. Find out here all about the holiday and how to prepare your e-commerce company for it.

Written by
Nicola Stebbing
Published on
October 28, 2022

Described as a 'guaranteed moneymaker for e-commerce brands', Singles' Day has become a global shopping phenomenon, and arguably the biggest e-commerce day in the world. As a result, Singles' Day is fast becoming a shopping event every brand wants to be a part of, and gives a glimpse into the future of e-commerce. 

What is Singles' Day?

Originating in China, Singles Day was concocted by students from Nanjing University in 1993, starting out as an anti-Valentine's Day initiative to celebrate people not in relationships. In 2009, Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, transformed Singles' Day into a national shopping event.

Many big e-commerce brands around the world have since jumped on the Singles' Day bandwagon, making it one of the biggest shopping events of the year. It has become an important event for e-commerce brands because it provides a pivotal period for approaching digital-savvy consumers just before the busy holiday season.

When is Singles' Day 2022?

Singles' Day 2022, as with every other year since it began in 1993, is held on November 11. The date - 11/11 - is significant, with '1' originally representing the demographic  group of single people.

Singles' Day 2021: Facts and figures

Singles' Day 2021 saw record sales for Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba. According to Criteo, retail sales on Singles' Day across Greater China were up nearly 20% compared with 2020. Taiwan in particular saw a 22% surge in retail sales.

Across Southeast Asia, there was also a significant spike in retail sales during Singles' Day 2021. Vietnam and Singapore recorded a 35% and 22% increase respectively in overall retail sales. Meanwhile, overall retail sales online were up 260% across Southeast Asian nations.

In Europe, Singles' Day sales in 2021 saw an upward trend, with Italy (80%), Spain (68%) and France (57%), all seeing a sales surge. There was also a significant increase in online sales on 11/11/2021 in Germany (35%), the UK (22%) and the Netherlands (16%), with more retailers pushing promotions on Singles' Day.

What makes Singles' Day successful?

The success of Singles' Day, particularly in Asia, can be largely attributed to Alibaba. It probably helps that Alibaba is considered the biggest e-commerce company in the world - with sales figures that are way above Amazon and eBay combined. 

Singles' Day sales on Alibaba are considered 'bottom of the barrel cheap'. For example, in 2020 you could buy two pairs of Bluetooth earbuds on Alibaba for $1.50 - $6.90. Alibaba's low prices probably account for the e-commerce platform's sales success during Singles Day.

What is the difference between Singles' Day and Black Friday/Cyber Monday?

In the West, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are considered the two biggest e-commerce shopping events of the year. While this might be true, on a global e-commerce scale, the revenues generated by these events don't even come close to the figures reached by Singles' Day. 

Revenue

Believe it or not, in 2021 Alibaba alone generated more revenue than the combined total revenue figure generated during the Thanksgiving weekend - that includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

It's a common misconception that Amazon dominates the e-commerce space, but in terms of sales, Alibaba generated seven times more sales during China Singles' Day 2020 than Amazon did during Prime Day. Even the second biggest e-commerce platform in China, JD.com, outperformed Amazon by 4x, generating a staggering $42.45 billion on Singles' Day 2020.

Evolution

The way Singles' Day emerged and evolved compared to Black Friday and Cyber Monday is another key differentiator between each of these shopping events. China Singles' Day began as an event celebrating unmarried people in 1993. However, it was quickly hijacked by Alibaba, and transformed into a shopping extravaganza with an immediate e-commerce focus.

In contrast, Black Friday as a retail holiday has a long tradition, but only recently adopted an e-commerce focus. Black Friday as a retail event can actually be traced back to the early 1900s, when American businesses offered deals on the day after Thanksgiving.

Culture

Culturally, there is a huge difference between Singles' Day shoppers and Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have their roots in the US, while Singles' Day originated in China.

Sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday mainly occur across the Western world, and only recently have sales started to rise in Eastern nations. In contrast, Singles' Day became the dominant shopping event in Asian markets first and is now quickly growing in popularity and importance across the US and Europe.

What is the significance of Singles' Day for countries outside of Asia?

Outside of Asia, the awareness of Singles' Day is rising rapidly. According to Statista, the awareness of the day across Europe increased from 14.1% in 2019 to 16.6% in 2020. The significance of Singles' Day has increased in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and France in recent years.

However, it's France (111%), Norway (89%) and Italy (68%), which have seen sales numbers surge with more e-commerce brands actively tapping into Singles' Day. 

4 things to prepare for Singles' Day 2022

With Singles' Day looming, now is the time to get prepared, this includes making sure your inventory and logistics are ready for the increase in demand.

1. Inventory management

Traffic and sales on your e-commerce site are likely to increase significantly on Singles' Day, so inventory planning is crucial. You need to ensure that you have a stock replenishment strategy and that you are prepared for:

  • Handling commercial invoices
  • Packaging specifications for shipping
  • Shipment bookings
  • Arranging transportation from port to warehouse

One way to manage your inventory flow is to partner with a 3PL provider, like Hive, to ensure that you don't miss a thing when it comes to restocking, delivery, and keeping tabs on inventory levels. 

2. Fulfillment 

Order fulfillment is the driving force behind the scenes of your e-commerce company, so you need to make sure it's finely tuned. Everything from picking, packing and labeling to knowing how much shipments will cost, needs to be organized and efficient. Failure to fulfill orders will leave customers disappointed and they won't return.

Working with Hive means your orders are picked and packed to perfection. You can view the statuses of all your orders easily in the Hive app as we pick, pack, and hand them over to our delivery partners.

3. Packaging

With a record 4 billion packages shipped during Singles' Day 2020, packaging was brought into the spotlight amid wastage. For an increasingly eco-conscious consumer community, you need to seriously consider the use of sustainable packaging solutions as your shipping levels increase, while balancing your delivery costs.

Working with a 3PL partner gives you access to more packaging options at a lower price. Hive has a dedicated packaging team which can support you along every step of the packaging journey, from procurement to design.

4. Timing

Singles' Day tends to coincide with the beginning of the e-commerce holiday peak season. This means that ideally, you will want your inventory, shipping and marketing strategies all sorted by the end of October ready for a flurry of orders.

Hive is an all-in-one platform that helps you to get organized, taking the stress out of the holiday shopping rush to ensure complete satisfaction for your customers. 

5 ways to increase sales for Singles' Day 2022

1. Don't plan for Singles' Day, plan for Singles Week

More and more e-commerce merchants are catching on to the opportunities that Singles' Day brings. To make sure you stand out during the Singles' Day shopping bonanza, stretch out your event into a Singles' Week - a little like Amazon did when it expanded Black Friday into Cyber Monday.

Not only does this reduce the intense competition of rival brands jostling for customer attention over a 24-hour period, but it gives your customers the opportunity to enjoy shopping for sales throughout an entire week. You can offer countdown deals and surprise offers in the run-up to Singles' Day, building excitement and momentum to keep customers coming back to your store.

2. Email discounts for sought after products

Send out personalized email discounts to your most loyal customers for sought after products that are on their wishlist. Encourage customers to set-up a shopping wishlist and when Singles' Day arrives, delight them with an email filled with discount codes. 

This is a great way to maximize profits and guarantee customer retention by helping them save even more on Singles' Day.

3. Give gifts

Free gifts are a proven marketing tactic for hooking in Singles' Day shoppers. According to a SendCloud consumer study, 90% of shoppers said getting a gift would increase their loyalty to a brand.

Not only is gifting a great way to entice customers, it's ideal for shifting surplus stock while introducing shoppers to a new product or line. You can make the customer experience even more magical by providing customized, eye-catching packaging to make unwrapping fun and immersive for shoppers.

4. Tap into customer generosity

Ads that appeal to shoppers' generosity are a surefire way to maximize your sales and revenue for Singles' Day 2022. Feature products that will make the ideal gift for friends or family and promote them across your social media channels and your website.

Whether it's a sweet smelling candle promoted as the perfect stress-busting remedy for a busy mum or a piece of jewelry for a favorite friend, put shoppers in gift giving mode with well-placed promotions.

5. Promote the 'feel good' products

Boost sales of your bestselling products on Singles' Day by highlighting them in your marketing efforts. For shoppers, Singles Day is about making themselves feel good, so if you're a cosmetics or clothing retailer for women, these types of products do well on Singles' Day, while gadgets sell best for men.

Make Singles' Day a success with Hive

Hive can handle all your operational needs this upcoming Singles' Day. From storage to picking, packing and shipping, get the support you  need to delight customers. Using our innovative technology, you can manage your inventory, access in-depth analytics and more.