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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collins

How Brands Leveraged Singles Day

Despite China’s slowing economic development, the Singles Day shopping spree in China continues to experience tremendous growth. This year, Alibaba reaped $14.3 billion on Singles Day, a 54% increase from last year’s whopping $9.3 billion in sales.

So what’s behind this year’s tremendous sales? Alibaba’s big effort in promoting this shopping bonanza was definitely a factor. Tmall has made 100+ posters for this occasion. Oh, and have you seen what the Chinese call “the most expensive ad”? In this advertisement, Kevin Spacey (who plays the president on the popular television show House of Cards) was invited to tell shoppers how unlucky he is to miss the Singles Day and urges Chinese to shop more on this festive occasion. What a smart move from Alibaba; incorporating the singles day with one of the most watched American dramas. If this still doesn’t amuse you, James Bond 007 also filmed some scenes for Alibaba. Bond’s cameo even came to Tmall’s Singles Day evening party.

Spring Airlines

Local low budget carrier, Spring Airlines, took an early start with its campaign. Sticking to the main celebrants of this festival Spring Airlines organized a 3-days blind date trip from Shanghai to Beihai in Guangxi, all for RMB2500. For this campaign, Spring Airlines created and owned a hashtag page called #爱在云端# (#LoveIsInTheAir). A wrap up post was also done, announcing they’ve successfully match 3 couples. In this same post, Spring Airlines began to market their next event, inviting other singles to join their next blind date trip to Japan.


Widely known for its creative and innovative Weibo content, Durex has once again proved themselves to their followers. Posted right on “double eleven” at midnight and sporting more than 1,5K forwards, this post smartly incorporated singles day with the “women are shopaholics” stereotype. The picture says: Break the glass when 11.11 comes; while the text says: Break the glass: the best way to stop women from shopping.


Uber Beijing completed their campaign in a more conventional method – email. However, they paired this old school style with a WeChat KOL to help make their campaign go viral. Through this post, Uber invited Beijing’s single ladies to order and hop on UberLUXE for a free ride and a complimentary flower bouquet. The promotion’s riders need to follow the rules to get the free ride:

  1. Key in the promotion code during the ride.

  2. Ladies and ladies only. Uber asked women to refrain from sharing the ride with male friends.

Break either of these rules and Uber billed riders with Uber Black’s full fare.


According to two infographics, Uniqlo tops the branded clothing sales on Tmall’s Singles Day for both female and male clothing. But they’re not stopping there! Uniqlo is offering even more discounts and promotions offline after the world’s biggest online shopping festival ends. To promote this Uniqlo sent out a post titled: “Did you miss Singles Day? Come to our stores! Get cashback up to RMB200 on new products!”. In less than one day, this post has reached more than 100K reads and had generated 247 likes. As I wrote on my previous blog, there must be some broken hearted shoppers who missed their sales opportunity and they speak up in this post’s comments section, encouraging the post Singles Day discounts. One comment says, “I didn’t even get to buy a piece of cloth on Taobao! I’m going to cry! Wait for me, flagship stores!”.


I was hoping to see posts and updates from one of China’s favorite sports brands: Nike. I thought to myself: “Nike must do something for Singles Day”. But to my surprise, they did nothing. Nike’s last Weibo post was on November 8th (checked on November 11th), and it wasn’t even related to Singles Day. Their WeChat Press Account (耐克媒体中心) didn’t advertise any discounts either.


How well did you do on Singles Day? The key to win big on Singles Day is to promote your sales on social media platforms before, during, and after the festival. Chinese consumers love to hear updates and heads up from retailers. If you’re confident with your brand exposure in China, put aside social media and just do it.

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