UK Singles’ Day achieves 32% year-on-year growth as ‘early start’ holiday shopping sets in

  • Conversions for UK retailers on Single’s Day increased 32% year-on-year
  • Rakuten Marketing expects 12% year-on-year sales growth for the whole 2017 holiday season
  • Elsewhere, China (17%) has become US shoppers’ first choice for international purchases

London UK, 22 November 2017 – New data presented by Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network has revealed a 32% year-on-year increase in affiliate sales driven by UK shoppers for Singles’ Day 2017. Based on proprietary performance data, Rakuten Marketing expects ecommerce retail sales to climb approximately 12% year-on-year for the whole 2017 holiday selling season.

Interestingly, in the case of apparel and accessories, a hugely popular category for Singles’ Day, the time taken from the first online interaction with a brand to completion of a sale was actually 12% longer than earlier in the month. A sure sign UK shoppers are checking sites earlier with sales in mind.

Rise of ‘early start’ shopping

A separate international consumer survey commissioned by Rakuten Marketing found growth is being driven by ‘early start’ shopping. 24% of consumers have initiated gift shopping as early as summer, with another 59% of shoppers citing intent to begin purchasing by Halloween. In fact, the findings now suggest that before the start of December, 48% of consumers have finished their holiday shopping.

Despite the popularity of early shopping, purchases on Singles’ Day alone saw an 11% bump compared with the preceding Saturday, according to Rakuten Marketing’s display network.

Abi Jacks, Marketing Director, Rakuten Marketing UK notes brands and consumers are now savvy to international mega events such as Singles’ Day: “Thanks to globalisation and strong promotions from international retailers, consumers are engaging with international events more than ever. This year, retailers should expect longer sales cycles approaching the holidays, as consumers take more time to explore multiple promotional options when considering a purchase.”

Heightened holiday competition

Single’s Day of course started out domestically within China. Today however, the findings show China (17%) has now become the first choice for US shoppers looking to carry out online purchases with an online retailer based overseas. Meanwhile the UK (6%) is now the second most popular choice at this time of year.

Top promotions for this holiday season are highly influenced by free and on-time delivery and promotional discounts that include percentage off, dollar off and loyalty offers such as cash back. 22% of US respondents will purchase, or spend more, with a brand based in another country if there are favourable discounts involved.

Abi concludes, “It’s crucial to remember these global sales moments are both a time of heightened demand and competition. The opportunity is enormous but marketers operating in western markets must acknowledge that as commerce becomes ever more globalised, they must consider how to manage their investment across channels to keep their products front of mind.”


The Rakuten Marketing holiday outlook is based on YOY Rakuten Marketing data and data collected from a consumer survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers conducted through consumer research firm Qualtrics. All Rakuten Marketing data reflects year-over-year, same-store results in the North America market. Rakuten Marketing will continue to release data and insight throughout the 2017 holiday retail season. For more information about Rakuten Marketing Integrated Marketing Solutions, visit

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