China gears up for Singles’ Day, a largest online shopping fete

China gears up for Singles’ Day, a largest online shopping fete
Highlights

Today is not Spring Festival’s Day that is the most important Chinese festival celebrated cutting across ethnic lines in the ancient country, spending money for buying boxes of wine and fruits. It’s not Valentine’s Day, a western festival celebrated by couples in romance. Today is the China\'s Singles\' Day which is considered as the world biggest online shopping day.

 A file photo of  delivery men  of an online shopping portal preparing for distribution of goodsOn Nov 11 every year, Chinese go on shopping spree online; ecom players offer huge discounts up to 90%

On this day, singles not only buy gifts for their future lovers but also for their parents who in turn buy online a lot for their family members. Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company, offers deals on everything - food, apparel, electronics, home appliances, cosmetics, so on

Today is not Spring Festival’s Day that is the most important Chinese festival celebrated cutting across ethnic lines in the ancient country, spending money for buying boxes of wine and fruits. It’s not Valentine’s Day, a western festival celebrated by couples in romance. Today is the China's Singles' Day which is considered as the world biggest online shopping day.

On this day which falls on November 11 (11/11) every year, the Chinese people go crazy online thanks to the powerful purchasing power of most populous nation in the world. It’s an annual festival of consumption where both e-commerce platforms JD.com and its larger rival Alibaba have a lot riding on shopping totals for Singles Day, the day the singles buy gifts not only for their future lovers but also for their parents who in turn buy online a lot for their family members.

To cash in on the demand, every e-commerce platform is offering huge discounts, ranging from 25 per cent to 90 per cent- the amazing discounts that you cannot imagine elsewhere in the world including India. Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company, offers deals on everything - food, apparel, electronics, home appliances, cosmetics and so on. During the Single’s Day, love will not find its way but Alibaba will find not only singles but all sections of the society, tempting them to buy its online products.

Tmall.com formerly Taobao Mall, is a Chinese-language website for business-to-consumer (B2C) online retail, spun off from Taobao, operated by Alibaba Group. With a view to cash in on the Chinese youth’s sentiments about November eleven: 11:11- the digits are standing like chopsticks which are used mostly by East Asian people especially Chinese - Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, applied for a double eleven (11:11) trademark in State Trademark Bureau on November 1, 2011 and finally obtained the exclusive right of this trademark on December 28, 2012.

In 2010,trading volume on T-mall was just 0.936 billion yuan while its volume zoomed to 3.36 billion yuan in 2011 without 11:11 trademark. But in 2012, on ‘double eleven’ day, the biggest e-commerce platform’s transaction volume surged at full speed, reaching 19.1 billion yuan, including T-mall’s 13.2 billion yuan, Taobao 0.59 billion yuan. The number of orders reached 0.1058 billion.

After getting trademark rights, in 2013, the data showed that Taobao "double eleven" trading volume exceeded staggering 0.1 billion yuan in only 55 seconds after the online special day shopping kicked off and in 6 minutes touched 1 billion yuan. And on November 11th, 2013, the one day total turnover was 35,019 billion yuan which shocked all online shopping platforms. In an unceasing profit gains, on November 11, 2014, Alibaba racked up a record-breaking 57.1 billion yuan in sales, a record in the world. It is certain that the ecommerce sites break previous records this year despite economic slowdown.

Among online consumers, women occupy 71 per cent, thanks to the era of massive production of consumer goods in China coupled with government’s indirect encouragement to boost domestic demand that in turn will boost production that’s what corporate sector wants. Beside, this consumerist tendency pervades not just singles but all sections of the families. Men normally have little interest in shopping, comprising less than 30 percent among all online shoppers. They want to tighten their belts in the family but in vain as there is a deluge of daily advertisement images devastating the harmony in the families.

Some Chinese men today ask for leave and stay with their spouses watching their movements twenty four hours because the online big discounts are only available from today’s early hours till mid-night. Some Chinese men who know the password of their wives bank account will enter wrong password three times just few minutes after this double eleven day starts that could prevent their spouses from online shopping whole day. But some tired husbands can even go for divorce as they believe commodities can only supply short-term gratification and detract from a sustainably happy family.

But for singles, no pressures from unseen partners. No tensions. No worries. Just outing with other singles at eateries and entertainment places especially karaoke. They think hyper consumerism cannot interfere with singles, but married men assert it’s an immoral lifestyle. Whatever may be the consequences, China is set to witness staggering volume of online sales today.

By Ravindrababu Konduri East Asia Correspondent, The Hans India

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