Japanese companies stoked for China's Singles Day

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Today is Friday, the 10th of November.

China's alternative to Valentine's Day has turned into the world's biggest shopping event. And past year, it took the Chinese e-commerce giant a full hour to reach $5 billion in transactions.

Past year the shopping holiday drove $18 billion worth of retail sales for participating sellers, a pop-up luxury hub, Double 11 Musée, will appear online and in the Tmall app for high-end brands.

Legend has it Singles Day began in the early 1990s in the dorm rooms of Nanjing University, one of China's oldest and most prestigious universities, when a group of single friends bemoaned the lack of significant others and made a decision to mark the day by organizing activities as a group of singles and soothing their loneliness by buying themselves a gift. Impressive until you compare it to the $17.6 billion in sales generated by Chinese consumers in a single 24-hour period during 2016's Singles Day.

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In two minutes, Alibaba's gross merchandise volume totalled $1 billion and in the next 40 minutes, the site's sales had surpassed $7.5 billion.

The event, originally a celebration of China's lonely hearts, has become the world's biggest online shopping spree, with takings beat those of its USA equivalents, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, combined. Each year Alibaba holds a slickly produced live-streamed and televised countdown gala that has become more and more extravagant.

Although there is technically only one Singles Day every year, retailers capitalize on the buzz that precedes the day and start selling products at a great discount as early as three weeks prior to the event. 200 million are expected to watch the gala this year, and tens of millions more will play games, visit stores or try on clothes on their phones. JD.com has partnered with Tencent and Baidu to attract as many shoppers to its platform as possible.

Alibaba is up 110% this year.