Is Singles’ Day reaching critical mass in the US?

Are you familiar with Singles’ Day? If not, you may well be in years to come, according to a recent article in Adweek featuring Zach Weinberg, VP of eCommerce at Reprise Commerce.

“U.S. consumers have been hearing about Singles’ Day for a couple of years now—at least the ones who are already high adopters of online commerce,” says Weinberg. “These consumers are likely the ones who will be very engaged this year.”

Singles’ Day, also known as 11.11 as it takes place on the 11th of November, originated in China as a celebration for people who aren’t in romantic relationships. In the late 2000s however, Alibaba commandeered the date and began offering online shopping discounts in a similar fashion to Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday in the West.

Flash in the pan or reaching critical mass?

Fast-forward to today and Singles’ Day has evolved to become a juggernaut of commerce and the biggest shopping day – online or offline – in the world. It makes sense, therefore, that Alibaba would seek to replicate the success it has enjoyed in China and other parts of the East in the West as well.

And this year may prove to be the year in which the commerce-heavy holiday reaches critical mass in the US, with Alibaba-owned marketplace AliExpress providing the driving force in the form of a huge social campaign titled #AllAboardTheAliExpress.

The biggest barrier to entry for Singles’ Day in the West is thought to be the already crowded holiday schedule, with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Veteran’s Day already popular in the US.

But the addition of Amazon’s Early Access Sale in October – in effect a second Prime Day – has stretched the holiday discount season further than ever before, and with inflation at its highest level for decades, consumers are far less likely to stay brand loyal, representing a great opportunity for AliExpress.

“The advantage of Singles’ Day is it’s a full month closer to holiday shopping than this past Prime Day was, and so consumers have gotten a little more comfortable thinking about holiday shopping now that Halloween has passed.” says Weinberg.

Shoppertainment and Social commerce champions

AliExpress also put a significant amount of budget into U.S.-based TikTok micro-influencers to help boost its #AllAboardTheAliExpress campaign and create a sense of fun in finding great shopping deals.

This technique of recruiting brand ambassadors for specific categories could supply the blueprint for Western marketplaces and brands that are still trying to find the best formula for social and live commerce success.

Much has been made of the collision between content, social media and shopping in recent months, and speculation as to when the West will adopt live commerce more heavily has been rife.

In truth, however, adoption in the US has been slow, and it may take a company like AliExpress or TikTok to lead the way.

Here to stay?

It remains to be seen whether AliExpress can continue to make headway in the US market in less turbulent economic conditions, and whether the holiday can be rolled out to other territories in the West with equal success. The adoption of Black Friday sales throughout Europe suggests it’s a strong possibility.

To read more on Singles’ Day and Zach Weinberg’s talking points, please visit the article in Adweek here.

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