While most people in the U.S. were honoring the services of veterans on the annual Veterans Day, Chinese people were also enjoying their so-called tradition of “Singles Day” with a shopping extravaganza that has made the online shopping site Alibaba the biggest winner.
November 11, or 11/11, started to be recognized as “Singles Day” since 1990 on the campuses of China’s universities. First, it was mostly celebrated by young men who bought themselves gifts to comfort themselves for being single. Gradually, it became a widely celebrated shopping holiday in China. Who doesn’t love an excuse to buy themselves presents?
Alibaba recognized this as a good opportunity to make huge amounts of money, and gave a major push in forming the new shopping festival. In China, most of the consumers of Alibaba are millennials, which is exactly the group that created “Singles Day” and kept it as an unofficial tradition.
Back in 2009, Alibaba launched their “Singles Day” sale for the first time, when only 27 merchants took part. Six years later,
‘Singles Day’ has become one of the world’s biggest online shopping events.
After the clock struck 12 midnight on November 11, 2015, Alibaba’s Tmall, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, raked in an astounding 10 billion yuan (about $1.5 billion) in sales after only 12 minutes and 28 seconds, reported Sina News.
The shopping frenzy continued for the next 24 hours. After 7 hours and 45 minutes from opening, Tmall transactions exceeded 41.7 billion yuan (about $6.56 billion), which amounts to the turnover in the U.S. for the Thanksgiving shopping season, including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Thanksgiving weekend, and Cyber Monday.
By the close of trade, Tmall reported 91.2 billion yuan in sales (about $14.3 billion), a 60 percent increase from last year. Alibaba made a huge success of the “Singles Day” shopping festival of 2015. Jack Ma said confidently: “It’s going to be the biggest global shopping festival. Thank you to all the ‘shopaholics.'”