China’s Unique Holiday Causes Jump in Online Sales

Published on Author rhynem14

November 11th is China’s “Singles Day,” a twist on the typical celebration of Valentine’s Day, and e-commerce reaps the benefits. This day was invented in the 1990s, as the date is said to draw connections to the Chinese phrase “bare branches for bachelors and spinsters.”

Alibaba Group uses the two platforms Taobao and Tmall for its Chinese presence. Tmall began marketing Singles Day as their biggest sale day in 2009, and already the sales figures have been astronomical. Tmall has over 20,000 Chinese and international brands on its site. Alibaba reports this year’s Singles Day sales beat even last year’s single-day sales of about $3.1 billion, or 19.1 billion yuan. $1.1 billion came in within the first hour of the sales day. Cyber Monday in the United States, the Monday after Thanksgiving, only reaped $1.46 billions last year.

Taobao and Tmall broke the record in the first 13 hours of the day. These records are only expected to increase with each coming year, not-so-surprising in the face of all the media coverage of the diminishing returns of brick-and-mortar shops in most countries. Chinese online retail purchases have increased to 6.3% form 4.3% last year (according to Bloomberg). These figures all make me wonder- what would increase this percentage even more: greater urbanization, or less? One could argue that less urbanization would cause more shoppers to seek online retail opportunities. However, the divide between the urban communities and rural communities in China is very drastic. The more rural communities may not be developed enough to even access online retailers in the way that suburban to rural communities in the United States do so.



Categories F13

5 Responses to China’s Unique Holiday Causes Jump in Online Sales

  1. It’s fascinating to see how this compares to cyber Monday in the United States. I wonder if this is the only holiday that gets the same online shopping boost?

  2. They chose the date to be 11/11 apparently because of the relationship between being single and the number ‘1’ which appears four times in the date. I am still a little confused on the topic, however. Do they simply buy themselves gifts, or are they buying other single people gifts? It is pretty surprising to see that a day like this on such an unknown holiday would have such significant sales, and almost double what the United States sold on Cyber Monday.

  3. Alibaba controls 80 percent of online shopping in China. Their business model is aligning retailers with consumers and they make most of their profits from commissions and advertising. Explaining the enormous amount of business transacted online on Single’s Day are that the sales are “huge.” Also, the variety of things purchasable through these retailers is enormous; was it last Cyber Monday that you went to Amazon to purchase a BMW or a Boeing 737?

  4. Per Oliver’s comment, Alibaba is seriously cashing in on the loneliness of singles in China! It is worth noting how simple it is for an internet provider to take advantage of a segment of the population and experience serious growth.