Singles' Day 2016

How online retailing continues to grow in China

Singles' Day, the world's largest online shopping event, took place in China on 11 November. It was the eighth time the event had taken place. Since sales for this colossal happening first exceeded twice that achieved by the long-standing leader – America's Cyber Monday – in 2012, new superlatives have been reported from the country every year.

17.8 billion dollars sales volume in one day

Singles' Day China billions sales volumes

We have summarised the key background information, facts, potential and tips behind Singles' Day 2016 in an informative event profile which you can now download:

learn more (3 MB)

High expectations on Singles' Day 2016

Singles Day China Alibaba Gala Venue

Once more a new record?

The excitement this year was particularly strong. Would Singles' Day 2016 succeed in again topping the previous year's record? Despite China's economic downturn that had filled the media headlines? On November 11 it finally was the day.


  • Internet giant Alibaba needed just 40 seconds to record the first 100 million renminbi (roughly 14.6 million dollars).
  • It took just 6 minutes 48 seconds to notch up sales of ten billion renminbi (roughly 1.4 billion dollars).


  • By the end of the 24-hour marathon, around 100 million people had shopped at Alibaba alone.
  • Overall, over one billion deals were done. At peak times about 175,000 transactions per second crossed the counter.


  • Customers had a selection of goods from over 14,000 international brand manufacturers to choose from. One in three customers (37 percent) made use of international offers.
  • Most of the international products ordered came from Japan, the USA, South Korea, Australia and Germany.

Singles' Day 2016 – the top sellers

What you can learn from China's e-commerce spectacle

An increasing number of non-Chinese brands are included among the top sellers.

Top 5 countries selling to China
Top 5 American brands
Top 5 European brands

Top 5 seller at Singles' Day China 2016 - men's clothing

Men's clothing

  1. Uniqlo (Japan)
  2. Jack Jones (Denmark)
  3. Peacebird (China)
  4. Mark Fairwhale (China)
  5. Semir (China)

Top 5 seller at Singles' Day China 2016 - cosmetics


  1. Pechoin (China)
  2. Kans (China)
  3. Chcedo (China)
  4. Lancome (France)
  5. L’Oréal (France)

Top 5 seller at Singles' Day China 2016 - mobile phones

Mobile phones

  1. Xiaomi (China)
  2. Huawei (China)
  3. Meizu (China)
  4. Apple (USA)
  5. Qlku (China)

Top 5 seller at Singles' Day China 2016 - baby items & children's fashion

Baby items & children's fashion

  1. Balabala (China)
  2. Yahili (China)
  3. Purcotton (China)
  4. Gap (USA)
  5. Uniqlo (Japan)

Top 5 seller at Singles' Day China 2016 - sportswear & sports equipment

Sportswear & sports equipment

  1. Nike (USA)
  2. Adidas (Germany)
  3. New Balance (USA)
  4. Li-Ning (China)
  5. Toread (China)

Top 5 seller at Singles' Day 2016 - cars & motorbikes

Cars & motorbikes

  1. Cadillac (USA)
  2. Audi (Germany)
  3. Buick (USA)
  4. Kia (Korea)
  5. Peugeot (France)

Alibaba is not everything – infos from our partner

The second largest online marketplace in China – also posted new records on Singles' Day with sales growing 59 percent year on year. 85 percent of customers used their mobile phone app.

In terms of logistics, draws on the latest technologies and uses drones, for example, to ship goods to remote rural areas.

The highlights:

fashion items and home furnishings

40% of's customers bought fashion items and home furnishings.

electrical appliances

In total, 42.5 million electrical appliances were ordered:

  • 650,000 laptops
  • 500,000 desktops
  • 4.3 million mobile phones

sports shoes

Customers also bought 1.1 million pairs of sports shoes.

Besides the big names among German brand retailers, medium-sized producers such as Aptamil (baby foods), Brita (water filters) and Lamy (writing systems) were also stongly represented.

The lesson for German companies

As the results of the Singles' Day 2016 show, the Chinese market offers huge opportunities for producers of consumer goods from around the world - the trends in cross-border online retailing offer even greater support to these assumptions. Therefore, it is high time for mainly German companies – besides the really big names such as Adidas and Audi – to engage in this type of retailing and the markets that can be reached.

No doubt, this does not come with its challenges: another culture, another pattern of consumer behaviour and a technological landscape with established search engines such as Baidu that are so different from the rest of the world, do not make exporting to China easy. But we can help you rise to these challenges. The services provided by Hermes and our subsidiary BorderGuru embrace all key elements of cross-border e-commerce: from online orders through to logistics, customs clearance and doorstep deliveries. Click here to find out more:

How to win over international customers

Sources:, Statista E-Commerce Foundation Report 2016,,

Photo credits: Alibaba,, iStock

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