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Innovation in Asia: Post-Singles' Day Lessons for Brands and Retailers Worldwide

Singles' Day—China’s annual shopping extravaganza in November—is the world’s biggest shopping event, with an estimated RMB 965.1 billion ($139.83 billion) in sales in 2021, according to the China e-Business Research Center. It is also changing the way consumers shop by showcasing new retail concepts such as the metaverse, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), sustainability, and agile commerce.

At a Glance

Countries mentioned: China

Key Companies: Alibaba,

Essential stats: During 2021 Singles’ Day events, gross merchandise value (GMV) of leading ecommerce player Alibaba grew by 8.5% to RMB 540.3 billion ($78.28 billion), while that of rose by 28.6% to RMB 349.1 billion ($50.58 billion).

The opportunity: Singles’ Day serves as a platform for global brands and retailers to not only sell to the world’s second-largest retail market, but also test new retail technologies and experiences with some of the most digital-savvy consumers.

Singles’ Day grew from a celebration of singlehood in China to a global extravaganza

Singles’ Day (also known as Double 11 since it takes place on November 11) has evolved from a celebration of college students’ singlehood in China into the largest shopping festival in the world in terms of GMV. It acts as a showcase for ecommerce giant Alibaba, which over the past 13 years has built the event into something often described as the “Olympics of shopping.”