China Focus: Chinese e-commerce giants gear up to cash in on Singles' Day
BEIJING, Nov 09, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
China's e-commerce giants are
gearing up to cash in by offering online sales promotions for
Singles' Day, which falls on November 11 each year.
The grassroots' self-proclaimed "holiday" developed with a
self-deprecating tone among China's huge unmarried adult
population, which is estimated at 180 million. It has gained
popularity, proving its true holiday power by generating billions
of yuan in sales for the retail business in the past few years.
A week ahead of the "holiday," online retailers' Singles' Day
promotions can be seen everywhere from billboards to websites to
Paired with tempting words like "half-priced," "free delivery,"
"gifts" and "bonus," the advertisements are burning holes in some
"I have put the goods into my online cart and I'll pay for them
on Singles' Day, as I believe the prices will be most attractive
by then," said Liu Yue, a treasurer with a private company in
She said she bought clothes, shoes and a mobile phone online on
the same day last year -- all at a 50-percent discount.
Singles' Day got its name from the four "1"s that make up the
date. The digits look like four bare sticks, which sounds similar
to the Chinese word "guanggun," or "bachelor."
Singles' Day was first celebrated in some Chinese universities
among unattached students in the 1990s. It became mainstream after
Taobao, China's biggest online merchant by sales volume, launched
a major promotional campaign using the concept as the theme in
On Singles' Day in 2011, T-mall, Taobao's online shopping
platform, saw its trade volume skyrocket to 3.36 billion yuan (533
million U.S. dollars), about ten times the platform's daily
average that year.
This year, 77.5 percent of B2C merchants have announced that
they will roll out promotional activities on Singles' Day,
according to a report released Wednesday by the China E-Business
The commercial success of Singles' Day did not happen
overnight, said Su Huiyan, a researcher with iResearch Consulting
Group, a Beijing-based research firm on the Internet industry.
She said November, which falls near the end of the year, has
always been a boom season for shopping. The concept of Singles'
Day makes younger generations a more clear marketing target, as
they have developed an online shopping habit and drive the
The soaring number of China's online shoppers has helped push
the popularity of Singles' Day. An iResearch report published
earlier this year shows that in 2011, the total number of online
shoppers in China hit 187 million, representing an increase of 39
million year on year. The number also represents 36.5 percent of
China's total Internet users that year.
"It's a smart marketing strategy that takes advantage of
singles, as research has found that young single men and women
with some savings after working for several years are more likely
to spend for the feelings of joy and satisfaction," said Liu
Weibing, a professor with China Youth University for Political
This is exactly what Zhang Nan has in mind.
The 29-year-old translator with a joint venture company in
Shanghai said she will console herself on Singles' Day with a
"It's time to reward myself with some wonderful items. I've
been working so hard this year that I didn't have time to get a
boyfriend," said Zhang.
However, Jin Xiaotong, vice president of the Business School of
Jilin University, warned consumers make purchases sensibly and
avoid impulse buying.
"Singles' Day is just another gimmick for merchants to boost
their sales rather than a caring therapy to comfort those lonely
souls," said Jin.
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