Market analysts have predicted that this Friday will be the biggest shopping day in 5,000 years of Chinese history with sales reaching all the way up to the $20 billion mark.
Last year on Singles’ Day, China’s official online shopping holiday, Alibaba smashed its own single-day sales record by raking in $14.3 billion during the 24-hour period (including $9.3 billion in just the first 12 hours), up 60% from the previous year. In total, some 1.7 million workers, 400,000 vehicles, 5,000 warehouse and 200 airplanes were needed to deliver the millions of boxes of goods to buyers’ doorsteps.
The company also went all-out with a special countdown gala the night before hosted from Shenzhen featuring awkward appearances from James Bond and Frank Underwood.
This year, Alibaba plans to blow the event out even more, with concerts from Katy Perry and OneRepublic, and even an appearance from Kobe Bryant, as the company tries to turn China’s Singles’ Day shopping bonanza into a global event.
Though it’s not like Alibaba particularly needs help from the international market. A New York-based research firm Fung Global Retail & Technology forecasts that sales will increase another 40% this year up to around $20 billion. Analysts are confident in Alibaba’s slew of promotions and innovative marketing campaign, which is going virtual this year, ECNS reports:
Alibaba will pilot Buy+, a VR headset which will allow shoppers to walk around simulations of bricks-and-mortar stores in locations around the globe, simply nodding to confirm purchase of items. Macy’s Inc’s flagship store in New York is among participating retailers.
British supermarket chain Sainsbury Plc has used a virtual reality promotion tool on Alibaba’s online store Tmall in August. Sainsbury’s reached top spot on Tmall in terms of orders during a one-and-a-half hour 360-degree live broadcast of its supermarkets in London. The event was the second most popular promotion since Sainsbury’s live broadcasted an afternoon tea party on the Queen’s birthday.
Alibaba has also released a location-based augmented reality Pokemon Go-style mobile app ahead of Singles’ Day. The company hopes to drive traffic from online stores to the physical stores of Tmall merchants as users follow an animated mascot on their phones through real city streets. International brands taking part include KFC and Starbucks.
Before the madness begins, just a brief reminder to please shop carefully. Last year, a Chongqing woman jumped straight to her computer at the stroke of midnight, snapping her husband’s penis in the process.