The big event that UK retailers should clock today occurred not across our sceptred isle but 4,000 miles away in China.

It’s online giant Alibaba’s Singles Day. Only launched in 2009, Singles Day now runs every November 11 and has become one of the biggest events in shopping globally.

Within the first hour of trading today, the promotional extravaganza had generated record breaking sales of $5.2bn.

It’s a reminder – a billions of dollars reminder – of how the face of shopping is changing. And how rapidly.

From nowhere, new businesses have emerged that cater for consumers in entirely new ways.

The best are growing at light-speed as more traditional retailers race to keep up.

As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said: “All businesses need to be young forever. If your customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworths.”

Many UK retailers have done a great job of overhauling their business models to reflect seismic shifts in shopping habits. But the pace will not slow.

What will be the next Singles Day or Black Friday – and can you create it?

In the theme of technological change, we also report today on innovations from New Look and Shop Direct, and preparations by Amazon and Argos for Black Friday.

All the best for a successful weekend’s trading.

Quote of the day

“Without doubt, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have changed how people shop for Christmas.”

Sainsbury’s Argos chief executive John Rogers

Today in numbers

$18bn – sales generated by Alibaba on Singles Day

Tomorrow’s agenda

No updates because it’s the weekend. Why not watch the latest video in our Be Inspired series?

George MacDonald, executive editor