Record breaking sales are expected on Singles Day 2018
By CGTN's Zhao Yuheng
The largest online sale of the year in China, the Singles Day Sale, is going to kick off at midnight on November 11. The day was chosen as the day to celebrate bachelorhood because the date in numerals - 11.11 - with four 1s, resembles four lonely individuals.
However, China's e-commerce companies, such as Alibaba, managed to make the day a shopping festival ten years ago.
Alibaba's online market Tmall made a jaw dropping total sales of 168.2 billion yuan (25.4 billion US dollars) on Singles' Day last year. While total sales on JD.com, who hosted an eleven-day sale starting November 1, 2017, reached 127.1 billion yuan (19.1 billion US dollars).
As the sale drew close, businesses across China have been busy preparing. Some even started months ahead of the big sale.
"We've been stocking up since September. We've managed to stock up more than 10,000 items since then. Our employees in departments such as marketing have been working overtime," said a Taobao retailer in Zhejiang Province.
So what's going to be new with this year's sale? Economic professor Liu Chunsheng from China's Central University of Finance and Economics shared his thoughts.
"There is a trend of online-offline integration this year, driven by "new retailing" companies such as Hema Fresh and Seven Fresh. This is going to drive up the sale," said Professor Liu, "On the other hand, the CIIE has opened Chinese consumers' eye to overseas products, so more imported products are going to be sold."
"I'm stocking up on dog food. Some brands are expensive without the sale, such as those imported ones," said a online shopper in Beijing.
According to consulting firm AlixPartners, who polled more than 2,000 adult Chinese consumers about what they intend to shop on Singles' Day, 41 percent said they are more likely to shop on cross-border platforms on this year's sale. Apparel, footwear, and sporting goods are going to be the top categories.
"The favorite shopping categories during the Double 11 in China are very different from our hypothesis and from other countries." Michael McCool, managing director of AlixPartners in Hong Kong says. "For example, people would purchase home appliances and consumer electronics, those are relatively expensive and less frequently renewed during Black Friday in the US."
More than 1.5 billion packages were shipped out during the five days after last year's Singles Day. China's State Post Bureau has forecasted around 1.9 billion packages are going to be shipped between November 11 and 16 this year. Concerns about the stress the sale is going to bring to China's parcel delivery industries, as well as the waste and pollution from delivery packaging, have also been raised.