First Click: Today will be the biggest shopping day the internet has ever known

November 10th, 2015

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The world’s biggest online shopping day isn’t Black Friday, or even Cyber Monday, it’s November 11th. In just a few hours it’ll be 11/11 in Beijing — aka, Singles’ Day in China, and it's sure to set another internet sales record. The manufactured holiday began in the 1990s as a kind of anti-Valentines Day for singles to spoil themselves. It has since ballooned into such an orgy of consumption that online sales made during Black Friday and Cyber Monday pale by comparison.

Source: Slate, citing data from ComScore, Adobe, Alibaba

Jack Ma’s Alibaba is credited with turning Singles’ Day into a major consumer event in 2009. By 2013, Alibaba’s Tmall, AliExpress, and Taobao sites pulled in a total of $5.8 billion, swelling to $9.34 billion last year with 42.6 percent of all purchases being made by phones and tablets. Alibaba is estimated to account for about 75 percent of all sales on Singles' Day.

Last year, Xiaomi was the top-selling brand, followed by Huawei, Haier, and Japan’s Uniqlo in fourth. A Nielsen survey expects 2015 to be another Singles’ Day record with spending estimated to grow by an average of 22 percent per person.

It's no coincidence that Apple chose to put its new iPad Pro up for sale on 11/11. Chinese millionaires love Apple products and China surged past Europe at the beginning of the year to become Apple’s second largest market. Last quarter, Apple saw a 99 percent jump in revenue from China compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

Black Friday’s doing just fine of course, even if it is becoming less relevant. Last year, the four day span from Thanksgiving through the weekend brought in an estimated $50.9 billion in combined online and in-store sales, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s down from $57.4 billion the year prior.

In a selfie-obsessed age of uncommitted Tinder hookups, surely it can't be long before 11/11 is celebrated globally?

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