Largest Online Shopping Day of the Year: It’s Not What You Think

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As most of us were trying to figure out what to do with the leftover bowl of candy from Halloween, the promotions for Cyber Monday and Black Friday started rolling in. With only 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart tried to get a jump on the shortened holiday shopping season and started running offers on November 1.

With this year’s online sales forecast expected to jump only 16% to $54 billion retailers are understandably trying to squeeze as much out of the season as possible. Instead of starting sales earlier and earlier why not take advantage of the largest online shopping day of the year. Any guesses? No, not Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it’s actually November 11. It is known as Singles Day (now also known as Shopping Day) in China and was originally started as a joke, a sort of anti-Valentine’s Day in the 90’s.

Online retailers have taken advantage of the holiday’s increasing popularity by offering discounts and running offers geared to singles using the holiday as a reason to treat themselves. They have generated some truly amazing results. In 2013, the major Chinese online retailers sold over $7.3 billion on Singles Day dwarfing the $2.9 billion sold on Cyber Monday and Black Friday in the US. This year Alibaba reported sales of $9.3 billion on their platform alone.

US retailers could market the day as a break from the holiday rush and a time to treat yourself. If they could get similar market penetration and average order size that China enjoys this year they could have generated an additional $6.5 billion in sales. It’s funny to think that the economy that launched the term “Hallmark Holidays” and commercialized Mother’s day to over $17 billion last year hasn’t capitalized on this opportunity yet.

Large e-commerce companies could start awareness campaigns in the fall next year and with the help of some well-timed affiliate and email campaigns could increase US holiday shopping estimates by 12%.

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