The end of the calendar year in countries around the world has become the biggest shopping season of the year, with Black Friday from the USA being adopted by other countries, and now, Double 11s Festival, started by Taobao, becoming a global event over the last few years and celebrating its 10th year in 2018.
In 2009, the Alibaba Group which created Taobao, picked November 11th as day for their shopping festival because October has “Golden Week” (National Day in China), December has Christmas, Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) is in either January or February, and November had nothing. Plus, shopping in November helps people prepare for giving gifts at Christmas and Spring Festival.
Double 11s is primarily an online shopping festival with major discounts on high-end and everyday items starting at 12:00 midnight on November 11th. Popular items often sell out within an hour so people stay up all night, bookmarking the items they want, and watching the clock. People buy everything from stereo systems, TVs, and computers to clothing, sneakers, and even household products like a year’s worth of toilet paper or tissues.
With the world’s largest national population, of course China holds the record for the most money spent by consumers in one day with 210 billion RMB (30 billion USD) spent on Double 11 in 2018. This amount of money is more than double the amount spent on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the USA. It’s the equivalent of every person in China spending 150 RMB (~2 USD) in one day.
The records continue to be broken year after year as China’s economy, middle class, and consumerist culture continue to grow. However 2018 was the first year that had less growth than previous years, with an increase in Double 11 sales of only 27%, still a staggering amount of continued annual growth. In addition to the sales available on November 11th, Taobao and other online stores are expanding their discounts to include other “lucky” double days 双日, December 12th, July 7th, etc. There is no sortage of occasions for people to spend money and buy things online or in stores in China.