It was about eight years ago that Singles Day became a thing in China. Apparent roots of the celebration began in 1993 at the Nanjing University where students wanted to make a celebration of being single (or alone), a kind of antithesis to Valentine’s day. Online retailers ran with the idea and encouraged singles to buy gifts for themselves by heavily discounting prices. Hence, November 11 has turned into what is now known as the Chinese equivalent of America’s Black Friday sales.
Alibaba is China’s behemoth online shopping portal and closed the day with earnings of $17.9 billion USD in 24 hours of sales.(Correction: that was last year’s figure. This year’s figure eclipsed at $25.4 billion!!!). Alibaba pulled in sales of $8 billion within the first hour... $1 billion in the first 2 minutes. Take a moment to think about how many people were sitting by their computers or staring at their smartphones at midnight waiting for the sales to start.
I was chatting with one of our receptionists about the sales and she was telling me about the ways in which buyers try to input in their credit card details as fast as possible and what kind of items are bought. We looked it up on Baidu (the Chinese Google) and found the top selling brands. For your interest, the top 10, in order, are: Apple, Midea, Xiaomi, Haier, Nike, Honor, Sharp, Adidas, Uniqlo and Siemens.
The figure will likely drop due to possible product returns but what a crazy number it is for us to ponder. Billions and billions and billions...