Live updates on China travel restrictions for 2022. Learn more
Double 11: The Biggest Online Shopping Festival in the World

Double 11: The Biggest Online Shopping Festival in the World

Written by Kimi HuangUpdated Nov. 11, 2021

Double 11 is also called Singles’ Day as anything with ‘1’ in means single in China. It falls on November 11th annually (11-11 is the date with the most ‘1’s)

Started in 2009, it has become the biggest shopping festival in the world, similar to, but grossing several times more than, Black Friday in the USA and the Boxing Day and January sales in the UK.

The major e-commerce sites in China, such as Tmall, JD.com, and Suning, offer large discounts and promotions to boost their sales during the shopping festival. Double 11 is the most anticipated festival of the year for China’s consumers.

Livestream and pre-sale have become the new trends in recent years. October 20th, 2021 is the first day of pre-sale. Austin Lee and Viya, the top two e-commerce live streamers in China, their pre-sale GMV (gross merchandise value) reached US$2,800,000,000 in total. In China's 4,500 listed companies, only 387 companies’ ANNUAL revenue is more than this value.

Why has Singles’ Day become such a shopping frenzy? Read below for more. 

How Singles’ Day (November 11th) Became a Shopping Festival

11.11 online shopping festival11.11 online shopping festival

The date November 11th had nothing to do with shopping before 2009. This day was chosen as the shopping festival by chance by Tmall. It proved a big success!

In 2009, Zhang Yong, the person in charge of Tmall, saw a business opportunity from the fast development of e-commerce. He decided he would like to boost sales and to make more customers aware of the Tmall brand. So, he planned a gala-style online shopping festival.

  • November is in the changeover period between autumn and winter, which is a good time for stocking up on winter clothes. But there are no official holidays in November to stimulate consumption.
  • The number 1111 is easy to remember. November 11th is a day for bachelors. Creating a festival so that they can buy something for potential girlfriends.

Double 11 Effects

Intelligent logistics centerIntelligent logistics center

Nowadays, with changes in spending patterns, “empty the cart” has become a popular slogan among young people. When the time hits 12 a.m. on November 11th, there is a rush to buy all kinds of goods online.

Thanks in part to Double 11, express delivery and logistics have developed rapidly in China in the past 10 years.

The GMV of Tmall on Double 11 from 2009 to 2020

Anual GMV of TmallAnual GMV of Tmall

New Trends for Double 11 in 2021

E-commerce live streamE-commerce live stream

As Double 11 is the most important shopping promotion activity of the year, Chinese brands and merchants have been busy preparing for Double 11 since the third quarter (or earlier). Some new trends have appeared in 2021:

  • Livestream e-commerce has become a new trend. It brings with it greater revenue and higher conversion rates.
  • The proportion of users using Groupon (a platform employing group purchasing power to secure larger discounts) has increased. It has become a very attractive shopping method that can greatly reduce the price of products.
  • More overseas brands have joined in this event with the expanding influence of Double 11.

The Tmall Double 11 Format

Shopping online through phonesShopping online through cell phones

Tmall has announced its format for Double 11 — 2021: the shopping festival is to be held in two phases:

  • The first phase is from November 1st to 3rd. Accordingly, pre-sale was from October 20th to 31st.
  • The second phase is from November 4th to 11th, and the pre-sale period will last from November 4th to 10th.

Both pre-sale periods will start at 8 p.m., consumers will no longer have to stay up late for pre-orders. According to the pre-sale stats so far, it is predicted that the GMV will hit a new high during the 2021 Double 11 Festival.

Joining Double 11 Shopping Festival outside China

Double 11 Shopping Festival outside ChinaDouble 11 Shopping Festival outside China

Double Eleven Shopping Festival has become a grand festival for Chinese people and even the whole world. With the fast development in international logistics, cross-border shopping is becoming more and more convenient, which has allowed people outside China to join in the Double 11 Shopping Festival easily.

In Russia, online shopping has become a part of daily life. This can be seen through the popularity of shopping for food and digital products from China through Aliexpress.com (Aliexpress.com is Tmall’s international version), especially during Double 11.

In the United States and Europe, besides the traditional shopping seasons, Double 11 is already one of the most influential shopping festivals.

In Southeast Asia, local e-commerce giants Shopee and Lazada have also joined the shopping festival. During the festival, to stimulate spending, they provide various online promotions.

It is predicted that consumers from more than 230 countries and regions will participate in Double 11 of 2021. This festival is affecting more and more people's lives, and no matter where they are in the world, now they can easily join in this festival. 

Why Double 11 is Attractive to Consumers?

Great discount on Double 11Great discount on Double 11
  1. The great discounts, of course, come first among all the reasons.
  2. The inspiring livestream advertisements stimulate a strong consumer interest. It can feel like a missed opportunity if you don't purchase anything at this festival. 
  3. Online shopping is not limited by geography. Even in economically backward places, commodities can be bought online and delivered through today’s logistics and express delivery.

How to Participate in the Double 11 Promotions

Consumer is shopping onlineConsumer is shopping online

Shops

There are different rules for different online platforms. For example, if you would like to participate in Double 11 on Tmall as a shop, you would need to apply to the Tmall platform and receive its promotion rules, and then follow them. Tmall supervises and audits qualification for participating shops. Each authorized shop gets a Double 11 mark for their shop and goods to let customers know they are approved.

Consumers

You could compare the prices across different platforms and check what discounts and coupons are available. For example, you could get a shopping coupon from Tmall or another participating shop...

These shopping coupons can be applied to all shops that have been approved as Double 11 promotion shops. On this basis, each shop will provide different deals, such as buy one get one free, 20% off for three items, 30% off four items, or 199 yuan off.

The most exciting deals are the seckillings (like the gaming ‘kills within seconds’): if a customer pays within the first 5/15/30 minutes of Double 11, they can get exceptional discounts or gifts on limited offers. This makes zero o'clock of November 11 an invisible fight to get there first and an online binge.

Double 11 Night Gala — Warm-Up for the Shopping Rush

Tmall Double 11 Night GalaTmall Double 11 Night Gala

The Double 11 Night Gala was first run in 2015. It's a live show themed around Double 11 shopping and combined with stars’ performances to attract more viewing traffic. Customers can watch the live show through TV or video websites to participate in the interactive promotions. The prizes include lucky money, shopping coupons, or using only one penny (yuan) to buy a commodity.

A lot of superstars have participated in this gala, such as Taylor Swift, Jacky Chan, Scarlett Johansson, and Katy Perry.

Other Popular Shopping Festivals Besides Double 11

618 Shopping Festival: created by JD.com, was founded on June 18th, 1998, and so 618 Shopping Carnival also marks the anniversary of its foundation.

Double 12 Shopping Festival: its scale is smaller than Double 11 and the 618 Shopping Festival, but commodities’ prices are lower than usual.

We are here to help you...
start planning your tailor-made China tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

The China Highlights Experience

1-to-1 Expert Planning

1-to-1 Expert Planning

Your tour will be tailor-made by your personal travel advisor — a destination expert. Every reply will be within 24 hours.

Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy your personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have unparalleled flexibility, which is impossible on a group tour.

Well-Selected Local Guides

Well-Selected Local Guides

Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and attentive — your personal local guides will share interesting stories, insider information, and even create unexpected highlights!

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Discover the hidden gems. Experience local culture by practicing it. Try new and exciting activities, and unveil the stories behind the sights and people.

China Highlights tailor-makes China tours to help travelers discover China their way. We're a passionate team of one hundred avid travelers who love to share our knowledge of China with those looking for a more authentic travel experience, more ...
China Highlights International Travel Service Co., LTD
Corporate Number: 914503003486045699
Featured on