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Double 11 is put on show

ALIBABA is set to stage a countdown gala in Shenzhen to kick off the Single’s Day shopping spree at midnight tonight, while consumers and vendors are making their final preparations for another blockbuster.

New-York based research firm Fung Global Retail & Technology estimate this year’s sales to exceed US$20 billion, adding 40 percent from last year’s US$14.3 billion with purchase made through mobile devices continue to climb up, and the gap between Alibaba’s Singles’ Day performance and other US shopping holidays will continue to widen.

Japanese, American and Korean products are the most popular ones among the pre-sale products on Tmall Global, a specialty section for imported goods on Tmall. As of November 6, most popular categories include diapers, facial mask, infant formula and skincare sets.

More than 30 apparel brands have accumulated over 10 million yuan of down payment by October 31 and the number of orders of electronic appliances more than tripled from the same period a year ago.

Several brands are making their appearance for the first time on the Single’s Day occasion this year, including Burberry, Target, Maserati, Apple, Guerlain.

“Tmall’s Shopping Festival Gala is a great tool for Alibaba to try out its digital media assets with awareness of the Single’s Day among mainstream online users already high, it hopes to capture more users from online video sites or live-streaming applications,” said Veronica Wang, associate partner at OC&C Strategy Consultant in China’s mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

E-commerce might not remain the robust growth as it did in the past few years but online shopping will play a more important role in people’s daily shopping life, said Adams Xu, consulting partner at consulting firm PwC Strategy&.

“More and more brands will be investing heavily in promotional activities and more product categories would join online campaigns such as the Single’s Day and to further sustain transaction growth,” he said.

Chinese vendors seeking to sell to overseas shoppers need to reevaluate the new competition landscape they’re entering and they also need to attract and hire talents with global perspectives, he noted.

“Big promotions such as Single's Day give brands and retailers a good chance to review their online strategy and execution since it’s such a big occasion with visitors soaring and orders pouring in,” said Xu Huanchun, co-founder and vice president at Shanghai-based e-commerce software and service provider ShopEx.

As online shopping festivals become better known and accepted by consumers, more and more retailer will feel the impetus to combine their online and offline resources, he added.  ShopEx manages online marketplace for dozens of brands from home and abroad including North Face, sportswear vendor Decathlon and Vans.

Consumers are wrapping up their final efforts but there’re also ones that’s not impressed. “The gift packages always come along with something I don’t need, and it’s easier for me to just purchase one single item so I can compare price from their physical store offerings,” said Shanghai resident Cherry with nearly 10 tens of online shopping experience.

Courier firms are also busy with preparation works to handle the biggest shopping spree in a year.

Shanghai-headquartered Yunda Express has renovated and upgraded dozens of dispatch centers with an extra 16,000 vehicles to tackle the delivery demand following the Single’s Day shopping spree, as well as automated sorting machines to help dispatch packages more effectively.

Wang Yong, senior director at Yuantong Express’ operation center, said it expect to receive 150 million orders on the Single’s Day from online shopping sites and it would deploy more than 500,000 employees and contract workers to fulfill the delivery tasks.


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