What used to be known as “Singles Day” in China has been redefined and rebranded as “The 11/11 Global Shopping Festival” by the holiday’s e-commerce patron saint, Alibaba, and with good reason. This year’s 11/11 is going glam, global and digital.
Nine years ago, Alibaba used Singles Day to offer massive discounts to draw consumers to their platforms Tao Bao and then Tmall. Last year, it became the largest single-day retail event in human history, producing $14.3 billion in sales for Alibaba. This year, the e-commerce giant will likely sell between $17 and $20 billion worth of goods in 24 hours. There will also be a celebrity-filled gala in Shenzhen, China to count down the hours to 11/11, the culmination of a three-week lead up full of new technology roll-outs, special events and new market openings.
But the real purpose of this year’s 11/11 event is for it to be a launching pad for chairman Jack Ma’s dream of reinventing and digitizing retail—first in China, and then around the world, and to take the first step in “serving two billion global customers.”