Singles Day 2021 Breaks Records Amidst Chinese Scrutiny

Singles Day 2021 has broken all records in 2021 as the appetite for consumerism is still strong across China despite Global events. Whilst not exactly a direct comparison as similar to Black Friday in the west, what used to be a one-day event has evolved into a multi-day event making it more likely the event will register higher numbers.

JD began its sales in late October while Alibaba started theirs at the beginning of November. Alibaba reported a gross merchandise volume (GMV) during their 11-day period of 540.3 billion yuan (approximately $84.54 billion), which is a more than 8% jump from last year’s 498.2 billion yuan.

JD reported a transaction volume on its platform of 349.1 billion yuan (approximately $54.6 billion) during the Singles Day period, which is a 28% increase from their 271.5 billion yuan last year.

GMV and transaction volume do not reflect direct revenue for JD and Alibaba, and they do not account for returns of purchases made through this same period. What they do show is the Chinese consumers’ appetite to shop on the eCommerce giants’ platforms.

Singles Day Social Responsibility & Government Pressure

Another interesting development this year is the apparent willingness of the eCommerce giants to try and appease the Chinese government by aligning with their main priorities. After Alibaba was slapped with a huge fine for alleged monopoly abuses earlier this year, they have really made a commitment to social and environmental responsibility a key focus of their campaign this year.

“This 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, we delivered steady and quality growth that is a reflection of the dynamic Chinese consumption economy,”

“We also leveraged the power of 11.11 as a platform to fulfill our social responsibility. This year’s festival was a meaningful milestone as part of our commitment towards building a sustainable future.”

Yang Guang, Vice President, Alibaba

JD meanwhile stated how it had reduced carbon emissions by 26,000 tons during this Singles Day period compared with the previous year, highlighting its commitment to environmental responsibility.

Singles Day Vs BFCM

Singles Day was never going to catch on in the west due to Veterans Day in the US and Remembrance Day in the UK. Being a totally made-up ‘Holiday’ Singles Day is much more aligned with Prime Day in the west however the timing draws more common comparisons with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Combining the reported GMV from both JD and Alibaba shows a total of approximately $139 billion. Adobe as part of their Digital Economy Index has predicted that in the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday there will be $36 billion spent online.

In order to get a number even close to the Singles Day numbers for the US, we would have to take into account total online spend from November 1st to December 31st which Adobe is expecting to hit $207 billion.

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