Singles' Day sales revenue surges at Web-based retailers

Updated: 2011-11-12 08:40

By Tang Zhihao (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - Online retailers registered a sales surge on Nov 11, as a result of "Singles' Day", and experts said wider recognition of the event is likely to support the growth of online sales.

Taobao Mall, one of the largest online trading stores controlled by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said it had recorded some 1.15 billion yuan ($176 million) in sales revenue by 11:11 am on Nov 11 after more than 11 hours of trading.

To put that into context, the sales revenue generated by Taobao Mall on Nov 11 2010 was 936 million yuan. Taobao Mall revealed that some 3.42 million consumers flooded onto its online stores at midnight on Nov 10 and the sales revenue had reached some 100 million yuan by just 12:08 pm.

"Singles' Day is not a traditional Chinese festival, so it is mainly celebrated by young people. The online shopping model is widely accepted by the younger generation, and some of them have good purchasing power. As a result, when online stores mount promotions for Singles' Day, there will be a big surge in sales," said Wang Ningyuan, an analyst from CIC Industry Research Center.

"Unlike the Spring Festival and National Day vacations that last several days, the Singles' Day one-day promotion will tend to help people make decisions quickly, it will better support the sales growth."

Eyeing tremendous business opportunities, online store operators had long been prepared for big sales and advertised intensively from early November. Some stores said discounts of up to 50 percent would be offered. Meanwhile, some popular stores increased inventory volumes to guarantee supply.

"We have uploaded products worth 60 million yuan to the system to ensure consumers can get what they want," said Hong Yan, an online store manager at the Mark Fairwhale brand on Taobao Mall. Hong said her team operated at full capacity from midnight and had recorded sales revenue of around 8 million yuan by 2 pm. She said the revenue target for the day was 20 million yuan.

Singles' Day, or Guanggun Festival in Chinese, was first celebrated in 1993 by four students in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. The event falls on Nov 11 each year when unattached individuals are invited to join the celebrations. The date was chosen because it is dominated by the number 1, which can be used to represent a person's single status.

Many involved realized that Nov 11 2011 will be the century's biggest Singles' Day, because the year also contains two number 1s, a fact that provoked wider celebrations.

"It is a situation that will not happen again for one hundred years, so I want to do or buy something special to commemorate the day," said Shanghai resident Zhao Ping.

China Daily

(China Daily 11/12/2011 page9)