Tomorrow marks the celebration of Singles Day across China. As Supply Chain Matters has indicated in a prior posting, from an online shopping perspective, this Chinese holiday from a one-day online order volume dimension dwarfs that of the Black Friday or perhaps Cyber Monday events. The event itself represents a testing ground for large-scale online retail capabilities that have global-wide implications.
A published report by Bloomberg Technology outlines some of the preparations and new initiatives that Alibaba and other Chinese online providers have been planning leading-up to this year’s event. The report quotes a Citigroup estimate that this year’s holiday could generate a record $24 billion in online sales.
Let that number sink-in for a moment.
Last year, estimates of revenue volumes transacted during the five-day period from the Thanksgiving holiday through Cyber Monday were estimated at upwards of $13 billion. The National Retail Federation estimated that 108.5 million Americans shopped online during the 2016 Black Friday holiday. The 2016 Singles Day holiday event, in-contrast, logged an estimated total online retail sales volume approaching $18 billion, all in one 24-hour period.
Leading-up to this weekend’s event, China’s major online providers have made additional investments in automated logistics and last-mile delivery capabilities along with expanded investments in customer intelligence. The Bloomberg report indicates that this year, Alibaba has recruited 10 percent of China’s convenience stores to promote goods, hold inventory and help support the delivery of billions of parcels shipped to customers across China’s vast geography. The China online retailer is reportedly converting 100,000 retail outlets into termed smart stores drawing a 1000 named western and Chinese brand labels. Other competing online retailers including JD.com and Wal-Mart.com have made their own preparations, leveraging added elements of physical retail with online retail.
This year’s Singles Day will in-essence bring forward a further development, whether China’s online retailers set new global benchmarks in the leveraging broader deployments of advanced technology related to customer intelligence, last-mile logistics and fulfillment, and in effectively leveraging physical brick and mortar and location-specific retail presence with broad online retail merchandising, inventory, and logistics management. As Bloomberg and our very own 2017 Prediction have noted, this year’s Singles Day is another important milestone in determining the long-term dominance of either Alibaba and Amazon in international online commerce dominance.
We will all have the opportunity to assess the results in the coming days.
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