Asia Briefing: Singles’ Day a wild success in China

 

Figures for online shopping in China continue to amaze. This year’s Singles’ Day, a relatively new holiday which people say came out of the universities but is basically a commercial opportunity developed by the e-commerce giant Alibaba, was a wild success in boosting online shopping again.

The day is a version of Valentine’s Day, on which single people, especially men, are encouraged to spend money on themselves. And splurge they did.

This year, 35.01 billion yuan (€4.27 billion) in gross merchandise value was transacted over Alipay for Taobao Marketplace and Tmall. com on November 11th.

This is a staggering 83 per cent rise on last year’s figure of 19.1 billion yuan (€2.33 billion). The websites attracted more than 402 million unique visitors during the day.

Chinese phrase
The date of Singles’ Day is reminiscent of the Chinese phrase – “bare branches – for bachelors and spinsters” and it has turned into an enormous online shopping frenzy since Alibaba’s Tmall site began marketing the day as its biggest sales event in 2009. The frenzy is similar to the post-Christmas sales bonanza in Ireland, except online.

It’s a clever marketing ploy. There are 34 million more men than women in China and young men love to shop online. Alibaba is supposedly on the brink of an IPO and events like Singles’ Day add to the appeal.

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