CHINA: WHERE ONE IS NOT THE LONELIEST NUMBER

MALIK ADENIJI WRITES — Huge savings, unbelievable deals, and incredible sales. In the U.S. these words may be reminiscent of the (in)famous shopping holidays Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, in China, the world’s most populous country and the world’s leading exporter of goods since 2009, these words represent a different holiday: Singles Day.

Singles Day or Guanggun Jie is a holiday which was started in 2009 by Chinese Ecommerce powerhouse Alibaba, with a market value today of over $485 billion. The holiday was started for  single people, to encourage them to buy something nice for themselves. Singles Day occurs every November 11th, or 11/11, the ones meant to symbolize individuals who are alone.

Since then, the holiday has turned into the world’s largest online sales fest, regularly racking up larger sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. By contrast, Adobe Analytics predicts this year’s five-day Thanksgiving weekend will drive about $29 billion in retail sales, both online and in-store. Within little over half of the 24-hour promotion, Singles Day generated over $35 billion. To put things even more into perspective, Alibaba announced that within a little over a minute, the company had generated over $1 billion worth of goods.

There are some distinctions between Singles Day in past years and this year, not only in terms of revenue but also backdrop. With Alibaba’s well known and widely-liked executive chairman Jack Ma stepping down in September, there has been some pressure on the company to continue its upward trajectory under new leadership. All of this is happening , meanwhile, as the Chinese economy and many Chinese consumers are affected by large tariffs from the U.S.

Just a few days ago, U.S. President Donald Trump ruled out a complete roll-back of U.S. tariffs on China, following trade negotiations between the leaders of the two nations who met in early October. With much still left to be seen in regards to trade between the U.S. and China, Singles Day earnings highlight distinctions between U.S. and Chinese consumers.

 

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