Today is 11.11. Welcome to Single’s Day!
It’s now the biggest shopping day in the world. And it was created by one man, Jack Ma, just 8 years ago. In the first two minutes of the launch event last night, shoppers from 192 countries swamped Alibaba and bought $2 billion of products at prices of up to 50% off.
Within 15 minutes, the number hit $5 billion with over 325,000 transactions per second. The sale continues on throughout today.
How did Single’s Day start? When Jack Ma looked at the largest tech companies in the west, he saw companies like Amazon and Apple profiting from shopping holidays like Thanksgiving’s Cyber Monday and Christmas - Holidays that weren’t celebrated in China.
Saying “You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die”, in 2009, Jack decided to create his own shopping holiday around “Single’s Day” on 11/11 (a day in China for singles to treat themselves). But instead of copying the retail model, he would make his holiday fully online and fully global, with 50% discounts for a full 24 hours.
That year, he convinced 27 merchants to sell their products on the day for up to 50% off, generating $10 million in sales. Then, each year, he repeated the process while growing sales exponentially:
2009 - $10 million
2010 - $140 million
2011 - $820 million
2012 - $3.0 billion
2013 - $5.8 billion
2014 - $9.3 billion
2015 - $14.3 billion
2016 - $17.8 billion
2017 - ???
Last year the $20 billion sales was a new world record for sales in a day - 300% more than all Thanksgiving’s Black Friday sales ($2.74 billion) and Cyber Monday sales ($3.07 billion) from ALL US retailers put together - for one company: Jack’s Alibaba.
For one company to generate $20 billion in sales in one day is mind boggling. But it started by one man seeing a challenge and turning it into an opportunity.
If you’re waiting for sales, what event could you create to bring the sales to you?
If you’ve got a challenge, how could you think differently to turn that challenge into an opportunity?
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” ~ Milton Berle