November 11th (11/11) is called Singles’ day (光棍节 guāng gùn jié) in China. “2” stands for double, and “1” resembles an individual who is alone. A set of four “1”, gives people a feeling of loneliness. That is Singles’ day, on which they celebrate their pride in being single.
It’s said that the beginning of the festival was in a university dormitory, where four boys without girlfriends celebrated the day. And later, it became a festival popular among young Chinese people.
Apparently, these four “1” also have different meanings. One represents one person, one for a bottle of wine, one for a flower and the last one for a heart, what give a romantic meaning for this Singles’ day.
In the middle and late 2009, Zhang Yong, then president of Taobao Mall, and his team planned a carnival of online shopping in order to developpe the brand. They chose the “double 11” day by chance. November was chosen because it was in the middle of the golden week of national day and the Christmas promotion season, when the weather is getting cool and consumers think about buying winter clothes.
But there is no holiday in November, only 11.11, which netizens call Singles’ day. Zhang Yong think it fits perfectly. A bachelor has nothing to do, then go shopping and buy some special treats for themselves. The seemingly accidental story gives birth to a new consumer node. Before 2009, November 11th was just an ordinary day, but by 2012, it had become iconic, a sales legend, and a strategic place for online sellers, platform providers and logistics enterprises.
In 2009, the first “Double 11”, only 27 merchants such as Li Ning, Lenovo, and Philips in Taobao Mall participated, but more than everyone’s expect, the entire platform transaction amount was 52 million yuan, which is 10 times of the daily transactions at that time. Nobody, neither businesses have idea about the power of Internet. Goods were almost sold out just one morning. Many businesses had to manager the replenishment offline, and even delivered the goods from dealer’s store. Later, “Double 11” became a synonym for e-commerce consumer festival, even for non-online shoppers and offline shopping malls.
“Double 11” has developed from a promotion on to consumers by e-commerce into online and offline shopping festival, and even went to the global market which achieve the aim of global buying and global selling. The trading volume of “double 11” has also increased rapidly year by year. Last year, Tmall’s trading volume reach up to 213.5 billion Yuan on “Double 11”. In addition, “Double 11” is no more limited to one day, the trade cycle is gradually extended. This year, Tmall’s “Double 11” trade cycle is finally determined to be a month.
In the past three years, the globalization of “Double 11” was a gradual progressive course by Alibaba. Since 2014, Alibaba has brought the concept of globalization to the “Double 11” day. Alibaba started globalization at that time, which intend to provide not only the channel for domestic consumers to buy their favorite international brand products, but also a platform to lead Chinese high-quality to tend towards the world.
2015 is regarded as the first year of globalization for “Double 11”, which emphasize on “global buying”. According to open data, on the “Double 11” day of 2015, there were more than 40,000 businesses, 30,000 brands and 6 million goods participate, including more than 5,000 overseas brands from 25 countries and regions such as the United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea. On the same day, 205 countries and regions a conclude a deal, among which Japan, the United States, South Korea, Germany and Australia were the top 5 countries in terms of import.
And last year (2018), Tmall’s “double 11” all day trading volume reached an amazing 213.5 billion Yuan.
Now November 11th is still Singles’ day. However, the greeting on the next day of “Double 11” is not “How are you?”, but “Have you bought everything in your shopping cart yesterday?”.
– Learn Chinese and Trip in China at RISH Chinese Summer Camp.