Singles' Day Becomes a Global Phenomenon, Providing Food for Thought for Asian Merchants

By now, everybody knows that Alibaba's Single's Day discount sales on November 11 exceeded all expectations. The annual online shopping event meant for single people in China that was started in 1993 generated the equivalent of US$25.3 billion in sales, 39% more than in 2016, and far ahead of analyst projections.

Now comes evidence that Single's Day is no longer just a Chinese phenomenon. According to payments specialist Ingenico Group, which processes online and mobile payments for many of the world's largest companies, participation by consumers in Latin America, North America, Russia and key markets in Europe was "particularly strong."

"Russian consumers, for instance, completed more than 10 times as many transactions on Singles’ Day as on an average day," reports Ingenico. "They also spent significantly more per transaction than they would normally, with a 35% increase in Average Transaction Value. Together this represents an almost 15-fold increase in total spending, highlighting Russia’s embrace of Singles’ Day."

In the UK, the number of transactions processed by Ingenico went up ten-fold on Singles' Day. The number was almost five times more than usual in Spain. In Latin America, the surge was most pronounced in Chile (nine times more than usual). Transactions in Mexico were up 91%. 

In the US, the number of transactions processed by Ingenico on Singles' Day jumped 22% from the daily average. That's more modest than in other markets, but the size of the American market means the increase is larger in absolute dollars than elsewhere.  

“Singles’ Day has grown to become the biggest one-day online shopping event in the world, but we’re still only at the beginning," said Nick Tubb, ePayments General Manager in APAC for Ingenico Group.

While Chinese merchants have been the driving force, the event's increasingly global reach is a signal to merchants in Asia to explore getting on the platform next year. Alibaba is also said to be exploring holding a global event on a date yet to be specified. 



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