Delivery dramas ahead of Singles Day

A slowdown in consumer demand in China means that Singles Day, Nov. 11, an annual shopping festival, is more important to sellers than ever, with Chinese brands already accounting for 16 of the top 20 brands.

With very little room to maneuver on price, this year’s scrap to ship the most that will be a logistics contest. 

A big platform like can easily ship half a billion packages a day during the shopathon, so the delivery problem is a very real one. Plenty of places are locked in various degrees of covid lockdowns. On Nov. 1, about 530 million packages were piled up awaiting delivery, while only about 270 million pieces were actually delivered. 

The express network can still just about operate. Most areas can be shipped to or from, but delivery times are affected. Back-office systems can monitor which areas are closed, but the information is not always perfect. 

Currently, Taobao,, and others exempt some sellers from “fines” if they have problems with logistics.