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Marketing Singles' Day Ecommerce

Singles Day 2020: how much did brands earn from e-commerce players?


By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

November 12, 2020 | 8 min read

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has reported that its first Covid-19 era Singles' Day generated RMB498.2 billion (US$74.1 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) from November 1 to 11. This an increase of 26% compared to the same timeframe in 2019.

Alibaba said over 470 brands achieved more than RMB100 million in GMV and handled 583,000 orders per second during the peak of activity. Apple, L'Oréal, Haier, Estée Lauder, Nike, Huawei, Midea, Lancôme, Xiaomi and Adidas were among the brands that exceeded the RMB100 million mark.

To hear more about how the shopping day started, tune into this free session with Alibaba CMO Chris Tung.

Its Cainiao Network processed more than 2.32 billion delivery orders cumulatively over the 11-day period.

In addition, 30 livestreaming channels featured on Taobao Live that each generated more than RMB100 million in GMV.

“Over the past 12 years, innovation has been at the heart of 11.11 and along the way it became a global consumer festival. 11.11 is defined by our consumers, merchants and our partners across the ecosystem, and also a beneficiary of all the support from society,” said Jiang Fan, president of Taobao and Tmall.

“We will continue to focus on developing our digital infrastructure in the service of mall empowering merchants of all sizes to find a path to success in the digital economy.”

Roxana Alam, senior strategist, FutureBrand London notes that since its inception almost a decade ago, Singles’ Day has seen double-digit growth year-on-year.

She says the pandemic will no doubt have an immediate impact on driving growth further in the short-term, with consumers expected to use the event as an opportunity to ‘revenge spend’ on luxury goods with money they would otherwise have spent abroad.

"Longer-term, Singles’ Day is set to have a wider impact on e-commerce in general. Oliver Wyman has predicted that the cyber event will eventually take place all year, not just November, with shoppers indicating they are inclined to shop more frequently with brands they buy from on Singles’ Day. This alone demonstrates the massive opportunity for businesses to capitalise on this event," Alam tells The Drum.

"Singles’ Day has also begun to extend beyond China, with e-commerce platforms in South East Asia and, indeed, globally getting involved and seeing an increase in sales as a result. Crucially, brands will need to consider how to invest in the event beyond just price discounts, exploring options like product launches and innovative e-commerce services such as live-streaming. E-commerce sites are already having to evolve their offering to keep up with Singles’ Day which is indicative of the integral role the event could play in the future of the landscape."

For fashion e-commerce platform Zalora, its chief marketing officer Jo Bjordal said the platform has seen a strong growth especially after the severe first lock down period which led to high panic and restrictions in some markets on warehousing operations.

The biggest surge is in new user adoption - Zalora had more than two million users downloading its app in Q2 2020. Bjordal said coupled with a strong demand because of seasonality (sales season) and new categories available, plus its Cashback programme that incentivize shoppers, it expected a good performance in this year’s Singles Day.

"The demand and consumption patterns for product categories have changed dramatically. Within the Lifestyle segment, we have identified a spike in demand towards the loungewear, beauty, kids, as well as continued growth in sports and wellness categories. In fact, these categories at Zalora have grown by as much as triple digit growth across these categories as seen in the latest 10.10 Sales last month, as people continue to prioritise personal well-being and spend more time at home," he explained.

"On the other hand, demand for women’s apparel and occasion wear products has declined as compared to pre-Covid-19 levels, although this is expected to pick up again once the situation around Covid-19 stabilises, and countries gradually ease into their respective re-openings."

He added: "We also noticed that the luxury goods category has also remained surprisingly resilient - with quality, classic pieces being the key objects of investment. We saw a double-digit increase week on week after the category launch and we saw triple digit growth with our luxury offering from the recent 10.10 sales campaign. This can be attributed to some consumers leaning towards spending on quality and value-for-money goods."

How did other e-commerce players fare?


  • The Alibaba-owned platform took 35 mins to surpass last year’s first 2-hours sales.
  • It sold more than 180,000 items by the 11th minute, which works out to more than 16,000 items sold per min.
  • It surpassed its 9.9 campaign sales within 5 hours.
  • Sales for LazMall products in the first hour exceeded that of LazMall products sold on 9 September.
  • Top 3 categories: Beauty, Electronics and Home Appliances.
  • Popular brands include Apple, Prism+, Dyson, Nike, Coach, LEGO, and Estee Lauder.
  • Top-selling products include staycations, TVs, groceries and exercise equipment.
  • Lazada saw three times more participating brands and sellers vs 2019 Singles' Day.


  • In the first hour of November 11, Shopee recorded 20 million visits across the region.
  • Home & living, beauty & personal care, mobile & gadgets were best-selling categories amongst Singaporean consumers.
  • High demand for Apple Airpods and Merries Diapers, with almost 3,000 units sold.
  • The highest transaction was worth SGD$7,000, as a consumer bought ASUS gaming laptops and Intel Processors


ShopBack Singapore

  • In the first hour of Singles' Day, the top categories based on traffic were Health & Beauty, Electronics, and Food.
  • In the first hour of Singles' Day, the top marketplace merchants based on traffic were Lazada, Shopee, and Taobao.
  • In the first hour of Singles' Day, the top brands based on traffic were Zalora, Dyson, Apple, iHerb, ASOS, and Nike.
  • In the first hour of Singles' Day, the top products based on traffic were Staycation, Airpods Pro, and Prism Monitors.
  • ShopBack saw an over 20x uplift in total traffic in the first hour of Singles' Day, compared to an average day.
  • This year, ShopBack saw a 40% increase in merchants participating in Singles' Day, compared to 2019.
  • "The performance during the first hour of ShopBack's 11.11 sale is very encouraging, and we are excited for what the rest of the day will bring. ShopBack is the bridge connecting users to their favourite brands, and it seems that shoppers are making ShopBack the first stop of their online shopping journey to ensure they are getting the best deals and value on all their purchases. I would like to invite everyone to visit ShopBack to browse their favourite brands and products this 11.11: cashback promotions, upsized vouchers, flash deals, and many more - there is something for everyone!" said Joel Leong, co-founder, ShopBack

ShopBack Malaysia

ShopBack Malaysia’s first-hour user shopping data studied the shopping trend and found:

  • Significant increase in terms of shopping traffic (web + app) in the first hour. It experienced a traffic spike of 20x compared to the same hour (12.00AM – 01.00AM) on an average day this month.
  • Adidas’s shopping traffic soared by more than 100x in the first hour (versus first hour on an average day); Shopee and Tmall’s increased by over 20x.
  • Shoppers visited general marketplaces such as Shopee and Taobao the most, followed by Fashion stores such as Zalora and Adidas, and health & beauty stores such as Watsons.
  • Among the 80+ Shopee Official Stores that are directly offering cashback on ShopBack, Enfagrow, P&G, Pediasure, Samsung, and Vinda were leading in terms of sales transacted by ShopBack users in the first hour.
  • Driven by the high number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, Shopback also observed over 50x increase in Dettol’s first hour sales compared to the same hour on an average day this month.


  • The second-hand marketplace took a different approach by 'boycotting Singles' Day.
  • It said since 10.10 ended, there has been an endless barrage of pop-up ads for Singles' Day sales which means Singaporeans are now anxiously holding onto their online carts to be the first to qualify for, or ‘chope’, the big discounts.
  • That is why it said it is saying: "NO to 11.11. No to wasteful spending. No to buying new things that we’ll eventually throw away. At Carousell, we just have low prices all year round. We give new life to pre-loved items, instead of adding to landfills."
  • It took to Orchard Road to (literally) shout about its lack of Singles' Day sales and wrote an open letter to its users to apologise too.
Marketing Singles' Day Ecommerce

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