This year, Catholics all over the world had to make do with very subdued celebrations for November 11th, which for them marks the beginning of the Carnival season. But China Singles’ Day (光棍节 guanggunjie), taking place on 11.11, continued to grow into a shopping event that dwarfs its American counterparts Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Conceived to celebrate singleness (four times number one), Alibaba, JD and other online retailers jumped on the opportunity to establish an opportunity for people to spend guilt-free especially in this year of revenge consumption after the end of the CoViD-19 crisis at least in China.
Since 2009, Alibaba’s e-commerce retailers Taobao and Tmall have been hosting Singles’ Day sales and promotions. Since 2015 Singles’ Day is promoted with a four-hour televised spectacle the night before. After Taylor Swift in 2019, this year Kate Perry performed, if only virtually from Los Angeles.
This year, three extra days were added before 11.11. to provide more time for shopping. No wonder, as more than 80% of all Chinese surveyed beforehand said that they plan to spend more or at least the same as in 2019.
In the end, Alibaba raked in an amount just shy of 500 billion yuan (app. 75 billion USD). Competitor JD made more than 270 billion yuan (app. 41 billion USD), both growing by around 30% compared to 2019.
China becomes increasingly the source of many new ideas and behaviours for other parts of the world as well, pushing aside the former dominance of Western culture. As with many cultural traits, the Double 11 event has also become popular outside China, especially in Southeast Asia, were the Alibaba subsidiary Lazada but also many local companies offered Double 11 discounts across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Many Overseas Chinese from all parts of the world also join the ranks of buyers in increasing numbers.
For Catholics, next year’s Carnival start will hopefully be back to normal, thanks to the vaccines which should have fenced off the virus by that time. For Alibaba and other online vendors, despite recent new Chinese rules aimed at preventing monopolistic practices by internet companies, the Double 11 event 2021 will almost certainly see more growth. Let’s hope that CoViD-19 will be a fast-fading memory for the world by then, including the 100+ million Chinese outbound travellers of 2021.
by the way, don’t miss the Handy Hint No.7 which is about having fun through bragging, available on YouTube
Best wishes as always for a peaceful and profitable week from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI WEEKLY team.