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China The Almighty Buck

China's "Singles Day" Is the World's Biggest Online Shopping Blitz 120

Posted by samzenpus
from the got-to-buy-it-all dept.
hackingbear writes "While the Cyber Monday after Thanksgiving is the busiest online shopping day in the U.S., it pales in comparison to China's Singles' Day on November 11, which started out in the 1990s as a protest to Valentine's Day. Sales on Singles' Day last year for Alibaba Group, China's biggest e-retailer, totaled more than $3.1 billion, doubling the $1.5 billion spent by U.S. consumers on Cyber Monday in 2012. This year, Alibaba's two ecommerce sites, Tmall and Taobao Marketplace, are expecting sales of at least $4.9 billion."
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China's "Singles Day" Is the World's Biggest Online Shopping Blitz

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  • by Bradmont (513167) on Monday November 11, 2013 @10:46AM (#45390955)
    As a Canadian, I want to prepare for my online shopping discounts, but I can never remember when it is...
    • by DavidD_CA (750156)

      It's always the "fourth Thursday of November".

      And Black Friday (the day for crazy sales that people camp out overnight for) is the day after Thanksgiving.

      • by cusco (717999)

        They're not camping out much any more. Most of the big retailers are opening now on Thanksgiving evening and staying open all night. My wife has to go in to work at 8:00 p.m. Thursday. WalMart of course started that foolishness, and all the rest of the big box stores followed along like good lemmings. If I were to buy anything on Friday it would go to those stores who valued their employees enough to allow them a complete and uninterrupted holiday with their families.

        The day after Thanksgiving is also N

    • As a Canadian, I want to prepare for my online shopping discounts, but I can never remember when it is...

      This isn't a holiday though; It's an anti-holiday... it was meant as a joke. It'd be like finding out that Christmas got the crap kicked out of it by people buying unadorned aluminum rods.* This is China's version of that... their parody holiday is kicking the crap out of our real holidays.

      *) For the three people in the audience who didn't catch the reference, google 'Festivus'. And get out more.

      • by fatphil (181876)
        Whither should I "get out" such that I can see Seinfeld reruns there?
        • by cusco (717999)

          That was from Seinfeld? Now I don't feel bad about missing the reference. I watched most of one episode, was disgusted at how much press such a truly abysmal piece of dreck was getting, and never went back.

          • by fatphil (181876)
            I had to google it, not having seen more than half an episode of the show myself.

            I remember hearing about /The Contest/ (S4E11) when it first came to the UK. Making that show was allegedly an interesting challenge - an entire show about giving up maturbation using nothing but euphemisms and presumptions about what would happen next or had just happened. I just grabbed a torrent of it and to be honest, watched it end-to-end. It was funny, laugh-out-loud funny in places, even if low-brow (sue me) and a bit to
      • by khallow (566160)
        I don't actually see evidence that this was intended to be a protest against Valentine's Day, but rather that a bunch of bored college guys were looking for something to do in November.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    in 2013 the communists beat the US at consuming useless crap.

    • Don't worry. It's not really communism. It's just a plain old fashioned dictatorship pretending to be communism.

      • That is real communism. After so many failures you realize it's built into the philosophy.

        Too much concentration of power.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Communism would be stateless. Besides, China has been Capitalist since the economical reforms of the 80s or so.

          • Communism is not the navel gazing of communist philosophers.

            Communism is what you get when communists run things.

            Ergo China is real communism. So was the USSR. So is N. Korea.

            Those are the outcome of the philosophy. Not social evolution until eventual utopia. Accept this fact. Communism/socialism concentrates power in a very unhealthy way.

            • Communism/socialism concentrates power in a very unhealthy way.

              Yeah, the American model is working so much better. And the Russian model is infinitely healthier now that they're a capitalist democracy. And there are absolutely no socialist nations worldwide that are clearly more successful states.

              • You'll find that most of the 'successful' socialist nations are capitalist welfare states (e.g. Scandinavia).

                They realize they need capitalism so they have something to tax.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    China's Single's Day on November 11, which started out in the 1990s as a protest to Valentine's Day.

    Considering the fact that Valentine's day is a Hallmark holiday to get people to buy trinkets, how is setting up another Hallmark holiday to get people to buy even more trinkets a protest?

    • by Vicarius (1093097)

      China's Single's Day on November 11, which started out in the 1990s as a protest to Valentine's Day.

      Considering the fact that Valentine's day is a Hallmark holiday to get people to buy trinkets, how is setting up another Hallmark holiday to get people to buy even more trinkets a protest?

      By protesting in this way they want to draw attention to single people, who feel left out during usual holidays, especially during Valentine's Day. People participating in this so called protest are trying to show that they are an important demographic, who wants to be mentioned during other holidays and during marketing campaigns.

      • by jbeaupre (752124) on Monday November 11, 2013 @11:12AM (#45391159)

        We already have many holidays targeted at singles, with extensive marketing. They are called Friday Night, and sponsored by every beer and liquor company, plus Trojan.

        • by s.petry (762400)
          This Holiday does not get them trinkets you insensitive clod! The participants receive headaches the next day, mingled with disappointment and regret.
        • by T.E.D. (34228)
          Actually, judging by the ads I see over the urinals, Friday Night is mostly sponsored by bail bondsmen.
        • February 14th is the holiday targeted at singles. It supposed to make them feel lonely and desperate, so that they will go out and buy a bunch of shit to feel better and/or in a hope to get someone this way.
        • It's already Singles Day (or night really). Everyone else feels obligated to be someplace else.

          It also has the air of desperation that exists for singles at a wedding.

        • I'm staying away from holidays with trojans or any other kind of malware, thank you very much.

    • by Bigbutt (65939) on Monday November 11, 2013 @11:28AM (#45391297) Homepage Journal

      No worse than "Mother's Day" or "Father's Day", both started to honor parents but promoted by commercial industries. All started out as a celebration but all plus Thanksgiving (Black Friday) and Christmas have become outlets for crass commercialism.

      [John]

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No worse than "Mother's Day" or "Father's Day", both started to honor parents

        Much like today, Armistice Day [wikipedia.org], which was about peace, but is now about honoring war and it's warriors [wikipedia.org], Mother's Day started out as a day to think about ending war and turned into one about buying overpriced crap.

        In 1872 Julia Ward Howe called for women to join in support of disarmament and asked for 2 June 1872, to be established as a "Mother's Day for Peace".

        It's quite sad how pro war and consumerism this nation has become.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Amazon is terrified of Alibaba's possible expansion into the US market. Alibaba is so much larger and can get better deals from the factories in China which Amazon doesn't have much hope of competing with. Online purchases are very price competitive with ppl shopping around for best deals, and Alibaba has a huge market advantage over their US-based rival, not to mention just sheer size.

    In the end it's a win for consumers to have more competition in the online retail segment.

    • Alibaba's has had an English language web site for years. The shipping costs kill most deals.

      • by Fwipp (1473271)

        Unless Alibaba starts putting warehouses in the US (so they can take advantage of bulk shipping).

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        But there's a hundred Chinese websites out there that will ship stuff to you free of charge. It usually takes a few weeks to get there, so if you don't need something right away, it's a great way to save money. Even paying for the courier rates aren't that bad if you're buying more expensive items.
        • by Rich0 (548339)

          But there's a hundred Chinese websites out there that will ship stuff to you free of charge. It usually takes a few weeks to get there, so if you don't need something right away, it's a great way to save money. Even paying for the courier rates aren't that bad if you're buying more expensive items.

          If anybody tried to scale this up I'm sure that customs would step in. When I've bought 50-cent cables with $1 shipping on Amazon and such they often show up in little brown envelops with a stamp on them declaring the item as a gift. I'm sure customs can't stay on top of that when it is just little stores mailing 20 packages a week to the US, but try to do that from a warehouse and toss in a few Amazon complaints and you'll see shipments getting intercepted unless the paperwork is above-board.

          I'm sure any

    • Clearly you have never used Alibaba. It's the biggest group of liars, thieves, and scam artists in the entire world. Everyone is selling fakes, low quality electronics from pretend brand names, illegally ripped off patented gear, more fakes, and pretending to ship items then claiming they have no idea where it went. I can't believe anyone in China would tolerate that kind of crap but maybe since they live there it's either better or they're used to everyone being dishonest and selling low quality crap.
    • by m00sh (2538182)

      Amazon is terrified of Alibaba's possible expansion into the US market. Alibaba is so much larger and can get better deals from the factories in China which Amazon doesn't have much hope of competing with. Online purchases are very price competitive with ppl shopping around for best deals, and Alibaba has a huge market advantage over their US-based rival, not to mention just sheer size.

      In the end it's a win for consumers to have more competition in the online retail segment.

      I agree that Amazon's biggest drawback is the lack of direct China sellers. Since Amazon's ratings system is so broken and products have to be strictly described, the Chinese sellers on Amazon are not useful to buy from.

      The Ebay Chinese sellers are much better and some have warehouses in the US.

      While this isn't a huge deal for Amazon right now, the Chinese products have now been getting better and better and there are some products that are so unique and useful than anything available in the US. The Chi

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Monday November 11, 2013 @11:11AM (#45391157)

    ...China's biggest e-retailer, totaled more than $3.1 billion, doubling the $1.5 billion spent by U.S. consumers on Cyber Monday in 2012.

    How many people live in China? How many people live in the US?

    .
    A more valid comparison would be the amount of money spent per person, that removes the bias of large-populations.

    • ...China's biggest e-retailer, totaled more than $3.1 billion, doubling the $1.5 billion spent by U.S. consumers on Cyber Monday in 2012.

      How many people live in China? How many people live in the US?

      . A more valid comparison would be the amount of money spent per person, that removes the bias of large-populations.

      Agreed. Here are some numbers:

      Currently the US hosts: 317,047,520 people
      China hosts: 1,349,585,838 people
      (Source: http://www.census.gov/popclock/ [census.gov])
      Ratio US to China: 1:4.2567

      • Cyber Monday is a poor comparison also since it immediately follows and is a continuation of Black Friday. {it's an attempt to catch extra sales from those people put off by the large crowds associated with Black Friday in retail stores}

      • Are you trying to compare the number of people buying things, or the number of dollars spent,or some combination?
        Although there are many more people in China, they are also much poorer.

        More people are doing the spending yes. But they are also spending a greater percentage of their money than the equivalent US shopper. So that makes them more consumerist, which I think is the point of the article.
    • yes, by gum, we are NOT to be out-consumerized by the Chinese!
    • by aralin (107264)

      But China's middle class is roughly the same size as US middle class. But they just about met. In a decade China will have double the size of middle class, while US middle class is steadily shrinking.

    • And then correct it for average income

  • Cyber Monday? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Morris Thorpe (762715) on Monday November 11, 2013 @11:23AM (#45391263)

    Interesting to see the term used here of all places.

    Remember when that term was rolled out in 2005 and we laughed? It was a bad marketing term (I mean cyber-anything went out in the 90's) for an obviously-concocted day. The Monday after Thanksgiving was not the busiest online shopping day of the year at the time. http://slashdot.org/story/05/11/29/135240/cyber-monday-doesnt-exist [slashdot.org]

    And here we are, a few years later....

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just saying ...

  • by minstrelmike (1602771) on Monday November 11, 2013 @01:10PM (#45392273)
    Kind of reminds me of Calvin and Hobbs Opposite Day.
    One of the things that has always bothered me is that citizens and politicians say our nation values peace but the only sorts of major awards we give out are to soldiers and we have several days honoring soldiers.
    No awards and no days for war protesters, apparently because we value peace so much.
    • by wcrowe (94389)

      Good point. And today is a good day to bring it up. Because originally this was Armistice Day (and still is in some countries). It was a day to celebrate peace - or at least, the cessation of war. From Wikipedia: "A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday: "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."

  • Cyber Monday and Black Friday are driven by people buying Christmas gifts. I can see party supplies being purchased for Singles Day those don't seem like big enough purchases nor are they likely to be purchased online. Or is it completely arbitrary and just an excuse for enough shops to have big sales and enough people are willing to make unrelated purchases on that day if they can get a good deal?

  • Celebrate your celibacy, because there's too many of us already!

    Either that or it was made-up by a Chinese sex toy company.

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