In a recent interview, Alibaba president of Taobao and Tmall businesses, Jiang Fan, said, “Think of 11.11 as the Super Bowl for brands. It’s an opportunity to pull out all the stops to wow Chinese consumers.”
The Chinese e-tailer promotes the event with ostentatious fashion shows and concerts. For example, American pop singer Taylor Swift will perform, this year, at the annual “Countdown Gala.” This will launch the event, giving online consumers access to more than 200,000 brands. Keep in mind that only 27 [American] brands took part in 2009; 60,000 in 2017.
Obviously, American companies have a growing interest in this annual event, and its not just for the promise of consistent sales, like that of the holiday shopping season in the US. With a shorter season, this year, many companies are promoting an early Black Friday event, so being able to participate in the most successful platform outside the US could help bolster sales at a time when American consumers are getting more and more scrupulous of not only how much they spend, but which companies they choose to support.
As such, Fan goes on to say, “Some of the most innovative marketing campaigns and new product launches are coming from US brands this year. I think all eyes are on us [and 11.11] each year to see what the future of retail looks like and how to best succeed in the China market.”
Indeed, approximately 24 percent of US retailers (with annual sales over $500,000) are saying they plan to participate in the Singles’ Day event. This will include deals on both Alibaba’s Chinese platform and the US websites. These brands include some of the biggest names in American retail—including tech giant Apple and prestige cosmetics brand Estee Lauder—as well as newer, smaller startups like sneaker brand Allbirds.