Singles’ Day this year broke new ground and records with massive sales volume and growth. In the first 90 minutes, Tmall processed $5 billion in transactions. To put that in perspective, the total haul for Cyber Monday in the US in 2014 for the entire day was $3 billion. Total sales for Singles’ Day totaled $14.3 billion / RMB 91.2 billion, representing 59.7% year over year growth.
As we talked about last week, JD.com, Alibaba’s biggest competitor, is gaining share. Through a new partnership with Tencent, owner of hugely popular WeChat, JD.com was able to grow at a faster pace, with sales growing by more than 110% YoY from 14 million orders to over 30 million orders on Singles’ Day.
According to Internet Retailer, 52% of first-time customers coming to JD.com on Singles’ Day arrived there from a combination of social networks WeChat and Mobile QQ. This signals that while Tmall is still the top dog in China, the competition is getting closer to nipping at its heels.
Anecdotally, among the Demandware customer base, we saw a roughly equal split of retailers who participated in Singles’ Day by offering promotions to visitors on their direct to consumer sites and those who did not participate at all. A few of the participating China retailers saw a 1,000% increase year-to-date over a typical average day’s volume.
This year Singles’ Day became a more global event, as some retailers including Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus offered promotions to consumers in the US, according to Luxury Daily, and Uniqlo as reported by L2. Forrester Research reported that UK-based ASOS extended coupons to its customers in Singapore.
As Demandware has reported, many retailers, despite the gargantuan sales volume, are still weighing the pros and cons of participating in Singles’ Day. That’s because steep discounting is the norm, and retailers struggle with balancing sales volume and profit margin. Some savvy retailers have managed to maintain margins by such liquidating markdowns only, and not discounting full price products. One example: Forrester reported how Deckers limited pre-orders of certain Ugg styles.
One-day online mega sales are truly now a global phenomenon. In response to Cyber Monday and Singles’ Day, Australian retailers this week staged its fourth Click Frenzy, “the 24-hour sale that stops a nation,” which was expected to set a sales record of more than $200 million.