Author Archives: John Koetsier

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This Dutch Startup Converts Heat Into Cold Via A Stirling Engine, And Could Just Save The Planet

By 2050, almost six billion air conditioners could eat 37% of global electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. That’s because as India and China get richer — and the planet gets hotter — people around the globe are buying A/C units at levels approaching the United States.

This is an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen.

But one startup from the tiny town of Enschede in the Netherlands aims to change that via a technological marvel that turns heat into cold without requiring energy itself — or any of the nasty gases that most A/C units use today. The technology, which SoundEnergy unveiled at CES last week in Las Vegas, uses a process similar to a Stirling Engine, which was first conceptualized 200 years ago in the early 1800s.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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AR Cloud Chaos: Competing Releases Of ARcore And ARkit Spawn Mass Confusion, Huge “Traffic” Jams

June 2, 2037

This is the seventh chapter of Insights from the Future, a book I’m writing about technology, innovation, and people … from the perspective of the future. It is a collaborative exercise, and you are invited to participate. More details below the story.

Urban Americans are experience massive delays and enormous frustration while traveling today thanks to incompatible releases of Google’s ARcore and Apple’s ARkit. The companies’ respective augmented reality cloud infrastructure is incompatible and non-communicative, and the result is mass walking confusion.

The situation is so bad, the president is compelling the two corporate giants to find a solution.

“If Apple and Google can’t figure it out together, we’ll figure it out for them,” President Ocasio-Cortez said today via her Twitter account. “Legislative solutions might be necessary sooner rather than later.”

The problem is virtual, but very real.

Most modern infrastructure is heavily dependent on smart glasses-delivered augmented reality as over 90% of Americans — and virtually all urban Americans — have adopted the technology. As such, we’ve become increasingly dependent Google’s and Apple’s backend technology … the augmented reality cloud.

The AR cloud is where all the virtual infrastructure such as digital signage, art of the commons, personal avatars, and metadata lives. Our smartglasses attach it so seamlessly to the “real” world that over time we come to see the virtual as substantial as matter-made artifacts like walkways, swim lanes on urban streets, and old-fashioned street signage, which still exists in some areas.

However, when it’s incompatible, people’s perceived appearances don’t match how they identify — a particularly hurtful problem, says the president — and public crowd-control infrastructure presents differently to different people.

Several people were already killed in New York today due to exceptional crowding and occasional panic as some refused to remove their smartglasses and embrace “true seeing,” as some call it, the NYPD reported.

“There is a translation layer between ARkit and other augmented reality cloud systems,” an Apple representative told me via Slack. “Unfortunately, not all systems have chose to integrate it.”

In other words, it’s Google’s fault, says Apple.

Naturally, Google has a slightly different take on the compatibility disaster.

“We’re in the process of updating ARcore to capture all the world’s augmented information,” Google CEO Cameron Grace said via message. “Unfortunately some companies have chosen to release updated software without going through the integration process.”

Controlling how people see the world, both virtual and “real,” is big business. Gartner estimated its value at over $3 trillion annually last October, because the company that controls how we view reality can, in a very real sense, directly influence what we see, what we miss, what ads we pay attention to, and therefore how we spend both our time and money.

President Ocasio-Cortez, however, has had enough.

“The U.S. government will be looking at implementing a public and open-source AR cloud which integrates data from all providers but also acts as a common default reality,” she announced later in the day.

Very likely the opposition parties will have a field day with that one.

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Notes and additional thoughts

I’m writing this book as a collaborative exercise. Each chapter is posted to my Facebook and LinkedIn feeds before going live on my blog. If you’d like to participate in critiquing and improving these posts, connect with me there. Alternatively, join my Telegram group here.

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Auto Telematics Catch A Killer: VR Re-Creation Of Accident Results In Conviction

August 3, 2025

This is the sixth chapter of Insights from the Future, a book I’m writing about technology, innovation, and people … from the perspective of the future. It is a collaborative exercise, and you are invited to participate. More details below the story.

The Mounties always get their man? Now smart self-driving cars are playing the same role, but in a much more visual way.

Police in Los Angeles used telematics data from three self-driving cars, including a Telsa, a Cadillac, and a Nissan Leaf to recreate an accident scene in photo-realistic VR, proving that a traffic death last December was no accident at all.

And not one of the data-donating cars was even involved in the accident.

Dan Gilmore of Long Beach killed a former business partner, Eve Nielsen, police alleged, using his Toyota pickup truck. At the time he claimed it was a tragic accident. However, video telematics from three separate vehicles proved that Gilmore intentionally stuck Nielsen’s car, swerving and accelerating in the final few moments to make a direct hit.

“Self-driving cars are constantly scanning their environments,” says Google scientist Jennifer Jones, who was called as an expert witness for the prosecution. “They keep that data for at least a month, and upload some of it to the cloud.”

LAPD investigators subpoenaed the data from nearby drivers and used 3D video modeling software to recreate the moments leading up the crash in VR, which the judge allowed the jury to experience. The data, including speed, direction, and timing, showed conclusively, the jury decided, that Gilmore intentionally rammed Nielsen, T-boning her car on the driver’s side and causing her death.

Jury members were able to view the recreation in real-time, and also to slow it down and analyze it from different points of view, all in immersive 3D. They were also shown evidence indicating that Nielsen canceled a partnership with Gilmore just a month prior to the incident, locking him out of a lucrative contract with a local Verizon subsidiary.

This is the first use of VR scene recreation based on actual device-level data to assist in the conviction of a murderer, but LAPD thinks it won’t be the last.

“Our job is to find and lock up criminals, and we’ll use any and all available data to do that,” staff sergeant DeAndre Franklin said. “As more and more cars on the road get smart and add self-driving features, it’s going to be easier to deeply understand how accidents happened … and if they are accidents at all.”

Apparently, we’ve come a long way since tire tracks and impact dents.

Presiding Judge Josephson sentenced Gilmore to 25 years in jail. His lawyer would not immediately comment on whether or not he will appeal the decision.

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I’m writing this book as a collaborative exercise. Each chapter is posted to my Facebook and LinkedIn feeds before going live. If you’d like to participate in critiquing and improving these posts, connect with me there. Alternatively, join my Telegram group here.

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Mr. Tomorrow: CES CEO Gary Shapiro On Tech, Jobs, Self-Driving Cars, AI, Robots, And Everything Else

CES is over. 180,000 people, 3 million square feet of display space, and armies of robots, gadgets, electronic gewgaws, and everything in between hit Vegas like a heavyweight’s uppercut last week.

But where’s all this avalanche of modernity going?

I spent 30 minutes with the titan of tech, Gary Shapiro, to get his opinion. Shapiro is the CEO of the Consumer Electronics Show and the author of multiple books on technology and the future, including his latest, Ninja Future. In that book he explains how 5G, AI, and blockchain, and other technologies will “forever change the economy as we know it.”

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Google vs Amazon At CES: The Battle For The Future Of Voice (And Computing)

LAS VEGAS–Google was everywhere at CES 2019. Amazon was in everything.

The two giants of voice-based artificially-intelligent smart-home-controlling personal assistants attacked CES this year like a hungry Mike Tyson chomping an ear. Like Eisenhower opening the second front. Or a hungry kid charging for candy.

In other words: it was an all-out assault.

But the strategies were very different.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Live with Joel Comm

So I had a fun hour or so with Joel going live about CES, technology, robots, and all things Vegas.

You can check out the livestream here:

The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show has ended and Joel Comm has the latest mind-blowing tech that you will soon be buying! He will be joined by John Koetsier. Together, the guys will share what they saw at the show, including large-screen televisions that roll up! Join them today at 6 pm EST / 3 pm PST for the fun.

Posted by on Tuesday, January 15, 2019

I was a little late … because time zones :-). I pop in at about the 7 minute mark.

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Consumer Electronics Show 2019: A Lucky 13 Amazing, Odd And Wonderful Things To Expect At CES

CES is a beast. A monster that cannot be tamed.

One of the biggest trade shows on the planet, Consumer Electronics Show hits Las Vegas this week. And I mean hits like Holyfield, with 182,000 attendees, 2.5 million square feet of exhibition space, and 24 categories from drones to sleeptech to smart cities to driverless cars.

Of course, last year my driverless car demo didn’t … drive. Perhaps it will this year.

Here are the 13 things that I — and some of the technology leaders I asked — are expecting at this year’s CES.

Click here to get the full post at Forbes …

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I Tried The $800 Robot Suitcase So You Won’t Have To

LAS VEGAS–The artificially intelligent $800 suitcase that’s also a robot with cameras and GPS tracking is real. It exists.

I just tried it so you wouldn’t have to.

“The suitcase has cameras and sees just like you do,” says Yaxin Guan, the COO of Beijing-based ForwardX, which makes the smart suitcase. “It also has collision avoidance.”

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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WikiBrands video podcast: ‘The Emerging 30 Technologies’

Was super-pumped to be a guest on WikiBrands’ latest podcast — and first of 2019 — focused on 30 hot emerging technologies.

The podcast is usually available here, but I’ve embedded the YouTube video …

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2019 Trends: Kicking of the new year on Mobile Groove podcast with Peggy Anne Salz

Was super-pumped to record the FIRST PODCAST OF THE YEAR for MobileGroove with Peggy Anne Salz. She always does an amazing job … and this was a ton of fun.

A quick peak at our conversation:

Mobile is as personal as it gets, and smart products power fiercely personal interactions between brands and consumers. Together they put the pressure on companies to balance data sharing and tracking—the foundation of superior and seamless customer experience—with the requirement to respect personal privacy. It’s just one of the mobile mega-trends John Koetsier—journalist, analyst, futurist and VP of Insights at marketing intelligence platform Singular—discusses with our host Peggy Anne Salz as they kick off the first show of the New Year. 

Get the full podcast here …

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How 1 Company Went From Zero To 22M Users With $0 In Venture Capital

How do you start a company and run it to tens of millions of users without accepting venture capital?

The answer, for Powtoon, is viral growth. 

The tough three in growing a company are product-market fit, scalability, and growth, but often growth is the one that consumes the most cash. And after achieving product-marketing fit and building a scalable model, gobs of spare cash are just what most founders don’t have if they haven’t accepted VC. 

Powtoon is a web-based video creation platform that just signed deals with YouTube, Adobe, Microsoft, and Salesforce. In addition, it’s launching a new enterprise solution to capitalize on the fact that its customer base includes marketers at brands like Virgin, Metlife, Unilever, and Verizon. 25 million people have created short promo videos with the platform, according to its founder and CEO, Ilya Spitalnik.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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What is customer empathy? 9 industry experts weigh in

Customer experience is critical. I recently contributed to a post in User Testing Blog on the topic.

Here’s what I had to say:

“Customer empathy means walking the same path your customers are taking: living their pain, feeling their needs, and deeply understanding the solutions that will work. That’s why the best products are often built by people who are creating solutions for their own challenges.”

Read the full post here …

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5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Continue to Shape Marketing

Just had the opportunity to contribute to a AdWeek post on AI and marketing … here’s the part I was quoted for:

There’s an unfavorable inequity in the marketing-AI economy for brands currently. The money brands spend actually pays for improvements to other companies’ machine intelligence.

As martech analyst John Koetsier puts it, “Google’s getting smarter. Facebook’s getting smarter. But your brand isn’t, even if a few of your campaigns are.”

Increasingly accessible AI in 2019 will make it easier for brands to begin seizing ownership of their own marketing intelligence. AI-powered platforms will emerge that not only drive greater ROI on individual campaigns but increase brand’s marketing intelligence. Indeed, we’re already seeing signs of this trend among certain progressive brands. For instance, video game developer Ubisoft is developing in-house mar-tech stacks to facilitate better user experience and decrease costs. Like me, Koester’s “looking forward to a near future where brands get smarter every day, one customer and one megabyte at a time.”

See the whole post here.

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Top apps of 2018

Sometimes video is better.

So, I went live on Periscope to talk about the top apps of 2018. Check out the 4-minute video right here …

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AirPods 2.0 Wish List: 18 Wishes Apple Fans Have For The Next AirPods

Rumor to the contrary, AirPods 2.0 are still in the future — probably spring — and the promised AirPower, Apple’s wireless charging system announced over a year ago, is as well. I’ve used my AirPods since the day they were released, and absolutely love their simplicity and functionality.

But it’s time for an upgrade.

What do we want in AirPods 2.0? Well, a lot, apparently.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes … 

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Scaling mobile growth: How smart marketers pay 37% less and get 60% more

The cold hard reality of mobile marketing is that the rich get richer and the smart get smarter. That sounds unfair, but there is a sunny side up: nearly every mobile marketer has a shot at success.

But achieve breakout mobile growth isn’t easy.

Among other things, it requires prioritizing what already know you should be doing, but aren’t.

Cold hard data on mobile growth: what we’re seeing

Over the past year our customers used Singular to optimize more than $10 billion in annual ad spend. That includes over a trillion ad impressions, billions of conversion events, and hundreds of millions of app installs.

Get the full story in my post at Singular’s blog …

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Blockchain For Business: This Startup Thinks It Solves All Of Blockchain’s Worst Problems

It’s likely that you didn’t wake up this morning and think: What the world really needs is yet another blockchain protocol. And, of course, another cryptocurrency.

And yet, look where we are.

Bitcoin and Ethereum are free-falling in value. Proof of work has been exposed as an environmental catastrophe. In spite of numerous efforts to improve blockchain scalability to something approaching Visa’s or Mastercard’s ability to manage transactions, we’ve seen varying levels of success in shipping products.

And while there have been some bright spots of innovation using blockchain in actual real live working applications like this crypto REIT in South Carolina and IBM/Walmart’s food safety project, much of the innovation in the crypto space has been of the financial shell game type, and not the kind lawmakers like.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Jeff Pulver Has Invested In 400 Startups. Here’s His Rock Band Theory Of Entrepreneurs

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA–Vonage co-founder and voice-over-IP pioneer Jeff Pulver has invested in over 400 startups. If the secret of getting good at something is doing it over and over again, he should be pretty good by now.

Today he shared his rock band theory of startup teams at TechBeach Retreatin Jamaica.

“If I take a meeting with an entrepreneur, I’m inclined to invest,” Pulver said. “I know within about three minutes, generally, if I’m going to invest … then they have 17 minutes to convince me not to.”

Then he asks five “rock star” questions.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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How Slack Became The Fastest-Growing Enterprise Software Ever

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA–With $1.2 billion in investment, 8 million active users, and 3 million paid users, Slack went from a failed gaming startup to one of the highest-value startups in the world.

And, unprecedented penetration in enterprise.


Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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300 Billion Ads Say We’re Not Marketing When We Should Be (For Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas Too)

I just studied 300B ad impressions, 9B clicks, 400M app installs, and $1.1 billion in marketing spend by hundreds of marketers over an entire year.

The key thing I found?

Marketers need to be flexible and adaptable to rapidly changing conditions including cost and consumer interest, because they shift weekly and even daily in the holiday season. A cast-in-stone marketing plan made last quarter just won’t cut it.

And sticking to a plan instead of adapting to conditions is going to cost you money and market share.

My full report is available here (full disclosure: I analyze data patterns for Singular). But the biggest thing I learned is that click-through rate (CTR), a good indicator of consumer interest, is only very loosely related to marketing intensity: the degree to which marketers are pushing rope up a hill.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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MasterCard: 4 Retail Verticals That Will Massively Outperform On Cyber Monday

It’s Cyber Monday, the opposite of “buy nothing” day, and Adobe estimates that we’ll hit about $8 billion in online sales today after a record Black Friday that saw the most mobile sales of any day in U.S. history.

So which categories will be hot today?

According to MasterCard, which processes billions of dollars in sales every day, four areas could see the biggest boost, based on 2017’s results:

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Record Mobile Sales Hit $2B On Biggest Black Friday Ever: ‘BOPIS’ Growing Fast

Mobile sale in the U.S. hit a new record as consumers purchased more than $2 billion straight from their phones — almost a third of all e-commerce sales on the traditional shopping holiday.

Total online revenue hit $6.22 billion, according to Adobe.

That’s up 17% from last year.

The mobile sales are a convincing sign of shift in the retail landscape: integration of offline and online business. And it’s help spawn a new acronym: BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store).

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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The Great Crypto Crash Of 2018

What’s interesting to me about the Great Crypto Crash Of 2018 …

  • everyone should realize that money is a collective fantasy. As soon as we stop believing in it, any kind of currency loses its value
  • decentralization has a complexity cost which is a natural barrier to entry
  • decentralization expands the threat envelope which is why it’s possible for crypto millionaires to become crypto paupers in seconds, thanks to simple, well-known, and existing hacks both social and technological
  • privacy in currency/payments is damaging to governmental desire for visibility, management, and taxation, so governments have a vested interest in seeing independent cryptocurrencies die
  • without an economic use imperative and dead-simple idiot-proof low-or-no-cost means of exchange, currencies don’t get widespread adoption and don’t move past the innovator and early adopter slices of the population
  • excessive hype kills whole sectors
  • obviously greedy and stupid follow-on ICOs and token generation events created by get-rich-quick types have poisoned the well
  • the world does not need 50 million currencies

Ultimately, I think all currencies that survive will be cryptocurrencies. But they’ll be nationalized or even internationalized by governmental or quasi-governmental organizations, and will be at least as easy to trade, use, and exchange as our current dollars and dinars, and most likely much easier.

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Salesforce: 40% Of 2018’s Retail Revenue Will Happen This Week During Black Friday and Cyber Monday

The coming Thanksgiving weekend is going to be huge, says Salesforce. So big that almost half of retailers’ annual revenue will come in this one massive Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday weekend.

Mobile will be key.

So will AI, for perhaps the first time, as smart systems are helping to drive more than a third of all retail revenue.

Salesforce sees a ton of shopping data, because the company manages marketing and sales for giant brands with more than 500 million global shoppers. So I asked Salesforce Head of Consumer Insights Rick Kenney for his take on the coming retail extravaganza.

Get the full interview in my post at Forbes …

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Adobe Analytics Challenge in Lehi, Utah

I had an amazing two-day trip to Lehi, Utah a few weeks ago for Adobe Analytics Challenge.

Essentially, Adobe and T-Mobile set hundreds of MBA student teams loose on real, live, actual T-Mobile analytics in Adobe Experience Cloud, and the top 10 teams vied for a $25,000 top prize at the event. I had the privilege of judging.

Here’s what I thought of the experience:

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257B Ads, 58M Installs Say the Mobile Subscription Economy Is Booming as Costs Drop 50%

It’s getting easier and cheaper to acquire new customers to your mobile subscription-based apps, according to a new study by Liftoff and Leanplum.

How much cheaper?

Think half price. And it’s not even a Black Friday sale.

Last year the average cost of acquiring a new paying subscriber for your mobile-app-driven service was $162.22. Now it’s just $86.99, according to the study, which looked at 257 billion ad impressions, 58.4 million app installs, and 47.4 million post-install events.

“The year-over-year data showcases major momentum for subscriptions,” says Mark Ellis, Liftoff co-founder and CEO. “Now pair that with Apple’s recent report that revenue from subscription-monetized apps is up 95 percent since 2017 … there’s no question that the long-term benefits of the subscription model, in the form of loyal users and stable cash flow, are worth the investment in service quality and marketing spend.”

The biggest opportunity?

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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300 Billion Ads Say We’re Not Marketing When We Should Be (For Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas Too)

I just studied 300B ad impressions, 9B clicks, 400M app installs, and $1.1 billion in marketing spend by hundreds of marketers over an entire year.

The key thing I found?

Marketers need to be flexible and adaptable to rapidly changing conditions including cost and consumer interest, because they shift weekly and even daily in the holiday season. A cast-in-stone marketing plan made last quarter just won’t cut it.

And sticking to a plan instead of adapting to conditions is going to cost you money and market share.

Get the full story in my latest column at Inc …

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The New Retail: Showrooming, Webrooming, And Scanswapping Are How Millennials Shop

Millennials don’t shop like their parents.

In the dim mists of time, we went to a store, bought a gift, and brought it home. That’s changed with e-commerce, of course, and I’ve talked about that before: Taps, Clicks, Bricks: How Retail is Changing in America.

But millennials are bringing it to a new level, according to a new study released today by Oath (the former AOL and Yahoo which is now owned by Verizon).

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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My fireside chat on adtech, martech, IoT, automation, AI, and smart rings with Oath (AOL+Yahoo)

Oath (former AOL+Yahoo) runs a regular fireside chat series with “leaders from across the ad industry” sharing their vision for the future.

I was super-pumped to visit Oath’s amazing offices in Los Angeles to do the chat in their unbelievably well-equipped studios. (And yes, it’s the first time I’ve ever gotten my makeup done, professionally or otherwise.)

I had a great conversation with Missy Schnurstein, who runs part of Oath’s ad business. We chatted about adtech, martech, IoT, automation, AI, and smart rings, and a lot more.

Check out the blog post here, and I’ve embedded the video below:

Oath Ad Platforms Fireside Chat with John Koetsier, Singular from Oath on Vimeo.

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$31B, 1B orders, 180K Brands: Alibaba’s Epic 11.11 ‘Single’s Day’ Shopping Festival in China

180,000 brands sold more than $31 billion in product for the Chinese 11/11 shopping festival, often known as “single sticks day.” According to Alibaba, that totals more than one billion separate orders, all processed in less than 24 hours, and the total sold is up 27 percent from last year.

237 of those brands sold more than RMB100 million, or $14 million USD.

Single’s Day is November 11, because the date 11/11 is all ones, or singles. It’s a popular day to celebrate being single, but also a big day for weddings. In e-commerce, it’s also become the biggest shopping day in the world.

Get the full details in my post at Forbes …