Alibaba, Amazon And Zalando Are Doing Yearly Events Now

Prime Day

This year, in the middle of the summer, Amazon organized its first yearly deal event, the Amazon Prime Day. It was a success as we now know. Bloomberg:

The Prime Day sales event added 2 percent to the company’s global revenue growth rate, Olsavsky said in a conference call with reporters. “We will continue it in future years and make it bigger and better,” he said.

Alibaba’s “Singles Day”, probably an inspiration to Prime Day, is an exceptional success as well. Bloomberg:

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. logged a record 91.2 billion yuan ($14.3 billion) in sales on Singles’ Day, turning a sweethearts’ holiday dreamed up two decades ago into a major online shopping event.

It is, however, not the only yearly event by Alibaba. The Chinese giant is doing a separate event: Taobao Nianhuojie, aimed at a different segment of the Chinese population. Tech in Asia:

It’s called Taobao Nianhuojie – loosely, “Taobao Spring Festival Product Holiday” – and it’s something that Alibaba has actually been doing for a few years now. In principle, it’s basically the same concept as Singles Day: a special time where you can find lots of products on Alibaba platforms (in this case Taobao) at significant discounts. But Nianhuojie this year comes with a special emphasis that Singles Day doesn’t: China’s rural ecommerce market.


This year, Alibaba’s Nianhuojie sale will be a collaboration between the regular Taobao team and Nongcun Taobao, an arm of the company focused on rural ecommerce. The company is trying to position this as something different from other consumer holidays because it’s about buying for others: “Nianhuojie is about buying something for your husband, wife, father, mother, and relatives,” said Taobao VP Zhang Qin. “Spring Festival is a very important holiday for every Chinese person, and we grow up with memories of Spring Festival shopping running through our heads, so Taobao wants to take this opportunity to help everyone better experience the culture and tradition of Spring Festival.”

Zalando is the third in that row -there’s the trend!-. Zalando has taken over the fashion fair “Bread & Butter” this year. Zalando has been pretty clear that it wants to open the fair to the general public and that enabling visitors to shop for fashion will be front and center. It will be interesting to see how exactly Zalando will incorporate digital consumer technology into its event. (Mobile apps and beacons come to mind.)

Zalandos first own version of the event has yet to happen. But Zalando is also the one company doing not ‘just’ an online event. (Though that may be coming additionally one day.)

But there it is: Three e-commerce giants doing yearly events.

So one could say that what we are seeing here is a trend. To be serious, this makes sense once you get to a certain size. Hence we will be seeing more of this not less: Events like those mentioned are creating a different environment, a chance to shake things up a bit, if only temporarily, and to experiment with new ways of discoverability. They increase publicity and awareness as a side effect.

It is however going to be interesting to watch how these events will be differentiated going forward. Prime Day, for Prime members only, is a perfect fit for Amazon. Alibaba trying to address urban and rural segments of its home market differently makes perfect sense as well.

What will make perfect sense for Zalando?


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