Have you heard of the Double 11 (光棍节) Singles Day originating from China? It falls on 11.11 which is just round the corner and here’s why you should care, regardless if you are single, attached or married; rich or poor; living outside of mainland China or don’t even know Chinese.
Everyone should care about Double 11 as long as you shop online.
Double 11, officially known as the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, is the biggest 24-hour online shopping event in the whole wide world and you can’t call yourself an experienced online shopper if you don’t know about it. Period.
Most of us would be familiar with Black Friday or Cyber Monday in America which have been around longer. But check out these crazy statistics from TechinAsia.com and Alizila.com when you compare the sales figure for Double 11 versus Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined in 2015 and 2016.
2016 sales figures via Alizila.com:
Singles Day has a humble beginning as an anti-Valentine’s Day celebration for singles. It was started in the 1990s by students from Nanjing University to celebrate singlehood and the literal Chinese translation is “bare sticks day” because of how November 11 looks numerically, like four single sticks.
In 2009, Alibaba (the world’s largest retail commerce company) started 11.11 to promote online shopping. Double 11 became synonymous with Singles Day as a shopping festival for singles to reward themselves by splurging online with many attractive promotions offered on Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall. It has since evolved into a day whereby everyone, regardless of their single status use the day as an opportunity to buy gifts for themselves.
It is kind of like a Chinese version of Christmas, except that instead of buying gifts for others, you buy them for yourself which make it even more awesome. All of us should really treat ourselves better sometimes and Double 11 provides the right excuse for retail therapy with great savings.
With sales in Alibaba’s sites including Tmall and Taobao at RMB36.2 billion in 2013, RMB57.1 billion in 2014, RMB91.2 billion in 2015 and RMB120.7 billion in 2016, Double 11 is a clear frontrunner as the biggest shopping festival in the world. Nothing comes close, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday COMBINED as a distant second.
So how should I start shopping?
You have to start early and by early, I mean right NOW.
Visit world.taobao.com or download the Mobile Taobao app to start shopping on Taobao and Tmall. The latter is a website spun off from Taobao in 2008 that focuses on facilitating business-to-consumer online retail and is more suitable for consumers looking for branded merchandise and a higher level of service.
Perks include incredible discounts of up to 50% off and free shipping for the first kilogram. If you miss it this year, you have to wait for another 365 days.
There is a detailed survival hack for Double 11 written for international shoppers outside of China on Taobaohacks.net, do take a read to understand how to best hack your way through Double 11.
A summary of their survival tips include shopping early to reserve your items for the actual day buying and to watch out for additional promotional codes or vouchers when you check out (yes, there’s still discount on top of discount!).
What should I buy?
There are China brands like Midea, Xiaomi, Huawei, Haier and Li-Ning which Singaporeans will be more familiar with.
For me, I will be going for toys for Asher and maybe some tech gadgets or home furnishing.
For now, I am just counting down the days to the actual sale and browsing through Tmall diligently as there is just too much to shop!