Holiday shopping has always been stressful. But instead of contending with crowded stores and long lines, this year consumers will be challenged by significant shipping delays and product shortages. A new retail event is trying to break through by kickstarting the shopping season before most kids have even chosen their Halloween costumes.
Taking inspiration from a hugely popular annual event in China, the latest effort to elongate the holiday season comes from Coresight Research CEO Deborah Weinswig, in partnership with shopping and rewards app Shopkick. The retail event, called 10.10, is scheduled to take place on October 10 (hence the name).
It’s designed to mirror Singles’ Day (11.11) in China, which first launched in 1993 as an unofficial holiday for unmarried people. Singles’ Day now serves as one of the world’s biggest sale events. According to Statista, 11.11 brought in US$38.4 billion in gross merchandise volume for retailer Alibaba in 2019 (up from US$30.8 billion in 2018, and US$25.3 billion in 2017).
10.10 is designed to get consumers started on their wishlists well ahead of the holiday season, and alleviate strains on manufacturing and shipping by starting the shopping season in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (allowing an extra few weeks for packages to make their way to shoppers). This is especially important in a year that has seen toymakers and retailers struggling with closures and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to concerns about limited product availability and shipping capacity.
More than 87 billion parcels were delivered globally in 2018, according to the Pitney Bowers Parcel Shipping Index, and the number of goods shipped is expected to reach 200 billion parcels by 2025 as people increasingly turn to online shopping.
Whether 10.10 will become another sales juggernaut like Singles’ Day—or if it can even match the success of pre-holiday shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday—is difficult to judge, considering how little is known about the event.
More than two dozen retailers are set to participate, according to Bloomberg, though they have not been disclosed yet. It’s also unclear whether 10.10 will focus on toys, or stick to consumer products for grown-ups. Moose Toys, Spin Master, Funko and WowWee all told Kidscreen they have no plans to participate in the event this year.
In North America, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have traditionally kicked off the holiday shopping season, but 10.10 isn’t alone in trying to shift these dates. Amazon rescheduled its popular Prime Day from summer to mid-October, while Target announced a virtual shopping event over October 13 and 14.