Annual global shopping festival worth more that $30 billion to be held on 11 November

More than 500 million people are expected to participate in this year’s festival

Singles Day, a Chinese shopping festival believed to have been started in the 1990s by Chinese students celebrating their single status, is expected to provide a huge boost to Alibaba Group on November 11 in the world’s biggest 24 hours of shopping.

The holiday, also known as the Bare Sticks holiday, due to the date’s numeric appearance, begun as a low-key ‘anti-Valentines Day’ and now eclipses Cyber Monday as the world’s biggest shopping event.

Chinese retail giant Alibaba Group said that this year’s festival will have a focus on “new consumption,” “new business” and actively contributing to a greener society.

Fan Jiang, president of Taobao and Tmall, Alibaba’s shopping platform, said that Alibaba will enable merchants in China and around the world to grow their businesses through “data-driven product innovation and consumer insights, as well as leverage our recommendation technology and content-driven user engagement to delight consumers in urban coastal cities and less-developed areas of China.”

The aim of the festival is to stimulate consumption demand and support lifestyle upgrade in China through new brands and products, he said.

AliBaba’s Singles Day event will host over 200,000 brands in Shanghai. Companies will also be selling items from cars to cosmetics via live streaming, with more than 17,000 brands already doing this on the first day of pre-sales. One million new products will be on offer and more than 500 million users are expected to participate in this year’s festival – about 100 million more than last year.

Estimated consumer savings from brand and platform promotions and coupons are around RMB 50 billion ($7bn, £5.5bn).

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In 2009, Alibaba launched its first Singles Day shopping event offering heavy discounts on its Tmall shopping platform with participation from just 27 merchants. That year the value of goods sold via Alibaba platforms hit $7.8 million.

Last year, more than 180,000 brands and merchants participated in the event, with consumers spending RMB 213.5 billion ($30bn, £23bn) during the 24-hour period, a new record for the Chinese technology giant.

Further reading:

Alibaba uncovers secret to Q2 success

Chinese economy shows signs of slowing

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