Ready for the Big Billion Days?

One trillion dollars.

The total shopping spent estimated in the US for the 2017 holiday season, from late September to Dec end, per Deloitte.

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This includes Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, Black Friday Christmas and New Year sales.

Big splurge of almost $3000 per head across all channels.

Online sales are expected to cross $110 billion dollars (>11%) this holiday season.

From a consumers standpoint, the goal is to get the best deal.

Channel-agnostic. Device-agnostic. Location-agnostic.

So how did this all start?

It was National Retail Federation(NRF) who coined the termed Cyber Monday in 2005.

The Monday after Thanksgiving where all retailers display spectacular discounts and promotions on their websites. Most brands and retailers start planning(people, process, product, price, promotions, packaging, parking) several months in advance.


  • From Dec 21-24 in 2016, Kohls plans to keep their stores open for 107 hours to support continuous pickups for their online orders and make the most of the holiday sale season.
  • Per Adobe, Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales have doubled since 2012.

Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday sales were benchmarks for the global retail industry.

But a few years ago, eastern world picked up.

China is arguably surpassing that trend.

Singles day on November 11th is a big event retail enthusiasts watch out for.

Started by a few college students in 1900s as an anti-Valentine’s day, today it’s the biggest retail day for the world’s second-largest economy.

Chinese consumers treat themselves and buy the things from their wish-list, celebrating the pride of being single, which turned into a terrific opportunity for the retailers and e-tailers for high transaction volume.

Big Billion Days

In 2014 singles day, Alibaba alone sold close to $9.7 billion.

In 2015, they touched $14.3 billion in sales revenues, where the first billion came during the first 8 minutes and 69% of the transactions took place on mobile devices.

Chinese e-commerce players such as Baidu, Alibaba, or Tencent have mastered the art of mobile personalization and advanced analytics to win over the Chinese consumers; reported PWC.

The schematic below explains how single’s day surpassed Cyber Monday since 2012.


Singles Day China

China, a country with 1.35 billion people, is currently the world’s largest e-commerce market generating revenue of $600 billion.

Sheer population size, technological advancements, and strong consumer spending are the reasons why China has an unfair advantage over the US in the retail business.

Another advantage, Asia, in general, has over the US in retailing is historically there was no concept of large departmental stores, franchises and corporate chains. Though shopping mall culture prevailed, mom and pops mostly ruled the hyperlocal space. This unique advantage has made the transition to online and mobile shopping much easier, making them mobile-first nations.

India, China, Thailand, Indonesia bring a sea of opportunity for commerce within the internet, mobile, and delivery.

As per TechCrunch, Southeast Asia is the fastest growing internet region users to touch 480 million by 2020. 124,000 users will come online every day for the next five years. And the economy is stated to grow to $200B by 2025.

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India, the runner-up.

Flipkart in India recorded 1.3 million cell phones sold in the first twenty hours of the Big Billion Days.

Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal together in 2016 sold 41.5 million items during their five-day sales.

Conclusion: Big billion days in the global retailing industry are great for both business marketing and consumers, and overall for flourishing the economy in such a short period of time, but economists argue that it ends up as a zero sum game. Think about it, for the rest of the 10 months of the year, retail sales plateau or most likely drop.

(Featured Photo by Ben White on Unsplash)