13th November 2020

POV: 11.11 Shopping Festival 2020


The Singles’ Day shopping festival in China, also known as Double 11 (because it is held on 11th November – 11/11), broke all previous sales records with Alibaba reporting sales totaling more than US$74bn (498.2bn RMB), nearly double its previous record. In addition, more than 250,000 brands and 800 million consumers participated in the shopping frenzy, which this year took place in the shadow of COVID-19.

Details and Implications:

Double 11 is the world’s largest shopping event, with sales each year surpassing those of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. For the first time this year, instead of the usual one-day shopping spree, the sale was spread over 4 days with two shopping windows: the first from 1st - 3rd November with the second one the final frantic 24-hour shopping frenzy on the 11th November.

2020 saw JD.com’s total 11-day sales grow by 32% YoY, reaching 271.5 billion RMB ($41bn) in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), while Alibaba owned Tmall’s 11-day sales reached 498.2 billion RMB ($74.1bn) increasing 26% YoY. Additionally, from November 1st to November 11th, online orders on Suning.cn (a local supermarket brand that has also become an eCommerce giant) increased by 75%.

At 26 seconds past midnight on November 11th, orders on Tmall were coming in at 583,000 orders per second and by 30 minutes past midnight its total sales had reached 372.3 billion RMB ($56.3bn). A massive 250,000 brands and 5 million shops joined this festival this year and almost 800 million consumers participated. The number of discounted products reached 16 million and eSports and hotel category sales grew by 147.75%.

For JD.com, it took only 6 minutes for the first order to arrive in the hands of the first consumer post-delivery, with 93% of the self-operated orders delivered within 24 hours. More than 20,000 brands doubled their sales on JD.com YoY and 13,173 Chinese domestic brands increased their sales more than twice as fast, with a further 205 Chinese heritage brands doubling their sales. There were 300 million new products sold on JD.com.

The Singles’ Day shopping festival not only benefited China’s eCommerce giants but also China’s entire supply chain network. Over 2,000 industrial areas and 1,200,000 shop owners joined nation-wide. Of the 2,000 industrial area partners, 105 generated more than 100m RMB in sales. As an example, 410,000 agricultural products from 1,406 counties were sold on Tmall, driving sales from smaller county sellers by 74% YoY.

The shopping event also continues to gain traction outside of China. International brands were a big focus for Alibaba and JD.com. More than 31,000 international brands participated in the event, with US brands generating over $5bn in sales during the period, making it the top country selling to China.


The strong numbers show that the Chinese economy continues to show signs of recovery. According to Alibaba’s Vice President Liu Bo, the dramatic sales increases can be attributed to COVID-19 causing overseas travel restrictions, resulting in stimulated online domestic consumption. The extra days of discounts also helped brands recoup lost sales from during lockdown.

Further Reading:

WPP The Store | CNBC | CNN | Business Insider

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