Forecast of 2017 singles day online shopping

2017 China Singles’ Day coming soon, and The Singles’ Day is the annual online shopping festival, let’s review the online shopping data 2016 and forecast for trends of 2017 singles day online shopping.

After all the fireworks and confetti, Alibaba’s annual online shopping festival Singles’ Day was over. Chinese shoppers got what they want at steep discounts and were all happy. The majority of Singles’ Day shoppers last year were still Chinese consumers, as they’d already developed the habit of doing intense shopping around Singles’ Day to benefit from the steep discounts.

total amount of 2016 singles day online shopping

And, under the lead of Alibaba and enthusiastic participation by major e-commerce players like, Yihaodian, Suning and Amazon China, shoppers of both genders and all generations across China were successfully engaged. The atmosphere simply turned even the coolest consumer into a shopaholic around the day.

Let’s take a look at the sales performance and metrics 2016:


  • Alibaba posted a record sales total of RMB120.7 billion (USD17.7 billion) this year, a YoY rise of 32%. Sales hit USD5 billion in the first hour and passed the 2015 total at 15:19 on the day. Meanwhile, and Suning both reported YoY rise in total sales of approximately 60% and 100% respectively. Mobile purchases accounted for 82% of purchases, a double-digit increase from 72% in 2015, according to Alibaba.
  • Apparels and mobile phones were the most popular product categories, as well as air purifying products in response to the aggravated air pollution conditions in major Chinese cities.
  • 61%+ of shoppers were women and 39% were men. More than 60% of shoppers are married individuals.
  • Around three quarters of shoppers were Chinese Millennials, and those who’re aged 26-35 were the major group of shoppers.
  • Flying Pig, the travel brand under Alibaba reached a sales total of RMB 2.17 billion on Singles’ Day, with over 50 of its merchants pocketing sales revenues of over RMB10 million. Japan, Thailand, Korea, the US, France, Italy and Switzerland were the hottest outbound travel destinations picked on the day. The UK made the top ten as well.

The Next singles day online shopping, and the Future of Ecommerce

As we can see, mobile transactions accounted for an even larger share of the pie this year as expected – up to 82%. This once again proved mobile’s predominance when it comes to singles day online shopping in Chinese market.

To advertisers, I have prepared below some noteworthy implications for the next Singles’ Day besides the “go mobile” cliché (and the way forward of doing ecommerce in mainland China):

When it comes to Singles’ Day, it’s all about the deals, prioritize sales over other ad metrics.

Design tailored offers with customized ad creatives for your target genders and age groups to enhance conversion – especially for the up-and-coming mobile-centric Chinese millennials. Adopt programmatic media buying to precisely deliver your customized ads to the right audiences.

Social + mobile is a must in your Singles’ Day marketing mix – studies show Chinese consumers tend to research for their Singles’ Day target items on social. Hence a smart combo of social + mobile, plus a mobile-friendly landing site would be a must to ensure smooth transition.

The rise of virtual reality applications in the ecommerce scene – for brands which do not have a brick-and-mortar presence in China, leveraging VR technologies to create virtual shopping experiences could be a game changer.

Foreign brands are not only competing with other foreign brands but increasingly with the reputed local brands – in 2016, many of the brands in the top ten sales lists on Singles’ Day across multiple product categories were indeed local brands.

Opportunity to lure shoppers in other Asian markets with once-in-a-blue-moon discounts – while Alibaba extended the event’s reach to Hong Kong and Taiwan this year, it is likely Alibaba would open it up to further Asian markets next year. It can surely mean a more complex marketing mix when multiple markets are involved, and at the same time, an even bigger opportunity.

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