Online sellers target singles
Singles’ Day this year threatened to overshadow even the 18th Party Congress in Beijing, as online shoppers made it the biggest ecommerce day in history. Singles’ Day, or “Guanggun jie” (guanggun means bare branches) is held on November 11th, or 11/11 (four ones). It was apparently started in the 1990s by four young men in Nanjing University who spent too much time playing mahjong. Young people have taken enthusiastically to the notion and mark it by hanging out together, and shopping.
The Chinese government has been keen to get domestic consumers shopping to offset the shrinking export rates. And this they did, spending eight billion yuan (€1 billion) in the first eight hours, which is more than the total amount sold on Cyber Monday, a US post-Thanksgiving online shopping spree offering discounts.
Big beneficiaries were tmall.com, 360buy.comand suning.com. Tmall had 10 million shoppers in the first minute after it began its promotion, compared to 3.42 million last year, while Suning expected orders to be up more than 20 times for its three-day promotion.
The Global Times acknowledged the importance of boosting consumption, but also bemoaned the fact the number of single men and women in China had reached 180 million. “These problems should not be covered by commercialisation of Singles’ Day, but require long-term public attention and thought,” it said.