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Americans stock up on Singles Day before Black Friday



daniel zhang alibaba
Alibaba’s Singles Day is the biggest online shopping
day of the year.


Black Friday sales
hit record highs this year.
But, that doesn’t mean it was the
biggest online shopping day in the world this November. 

Shoppers spent $2.4 billion online on Wednesday, a whopping 31.8%
increase from 2017, according to Adobe Analytics data.
Thanksgiving Day online sales hit $3.7 billion, 28% growth year
over year. Black Friday is shaping up to be similarly impressive,
with online sales reaching $643 million as of 10 a.m. ET, an
increase of 27.8%.

However, there was another major shopping day earlier in
November. On Singles Day — November 11 — Alibaba sales
reached $30.8
billion online
 globally, far exceeding Black Friday

Most of those sales were in China. However, US shopping on
Singles Day grew 29.1% compared to 2017, according to Adobe

“If you look at the average Ali Express consumer in the US,
they’re middle class folks just like in China,” Alibaba president
Michael Evans told Business Insider on Singles Day in

American shoppers spent $1.82 billion online on Singles Day —
less, even, than on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. However,
the impact of Singles Day in the US is quietly and swiftly

alibaba gala
Alibaba’s Singles Day gala.

Perhaps the biggest effect Singles Day in having on the US is
American companies learning to take a page out of Alibaba’s
handbook. While the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the closest
thing to Alibaba’s 11/11 kickoff gala, companies across the board
are imitating Alibaba in stretching Black Friday to be longer and
start earlier. 

“US retailers are looking closely at the success of Alibaba’s
‘Singles’ Day’ shopping extravaganza to inform next year’s
Holiday shopping season, particularly the concept of its
‘pre-sale’ period,” Accenture Strategy’s Frank Layo said in a
comment on Friday morning.

“It allows shoppers to preview merchandise and deals in the run
up to the main event and secure goods in their shopping carts,
usually for a small deposit,” Layo continued. “This helps to
improve conversion rates and gives retailers granular visibility
into inventory requirements.” 

Next year, Alibaba may poach shoppers more directly. While the
trade war has helped dump some cold water on Alibaba’s move into
the US, executives have hinted that they
want Singles Day to become more of a global event.

Read more:

Alibaba’s straining to continue its era of record-breaking
Singles’ Day sales — here’s how executives plan to keep

“Everywhere I go, which is pretty much everywhere in the world,
there are not very many people who do not know about 11/11,”
Evans told Business Insider.

“Many people ask the question — how can we participate next year?
People are very interested, I think partly because they’ve heard
of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and they think that’s quite

He continued: “They’ve heard of Amazon Prime Day. But, we sold as
much in five minutes as Amazon sold in an entire Prime Day.”

More on Black Friday 2018: 

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