Back in the 2009 when Jack Ma was building Alibaba, the largest e-commerce company in China, he drew inspiration from the iconic “Thanksgiving Day Sale” in the US ahead of the Christmas season, which usually witnesses shopping frenzy by the countrymen, when Retailers offer deep discounts to clear the year-end stocks, which are purchased for gifting to family and friends by discerning shoppers.
Ma started the company’s big day sale on 11/11 – a nemonic which looks like 4 branches, evoking similarity to for being unattached. The idea was to urge singles to spend and slurge on themselves on being single. Over time, the trend passed on across the country. the company had a consolidated revenue of USD 109 billion for the Financial Year 2020. since 2014, Sales on “Singles Day” (which now has an extended version covering the weekend) has grown from USD 9 billion to USD 78 billion in 2020. In fact, in 2019, it was less than half of that. The frenzy during 2020 was largely due to revenge shopping, a term first coined in China where the Chinese shopped like never before after months of captivity amidst a nationwide lockdown, a first in the country.
Going by current trends, the Singles Day, which is to be held on 11 November 2021 could well cross USD 120 Billion all through the weekend until 14 November, even as the US, Europe and most of Asia has opened it’s doors for international tourists and travellers. Given that there is a lot of transatlantic travel in the anvil, it is expected that the Chinese could spend more on the Singles Day shopping this year than in 2020, driving a new meaning for “Revenge Shopping”.
The build-up for the Singles Day begins by end-October, including rivals JD.com and many others joining the fray. Alibaba, among many top businesses driven by Entrepreneurs in China, have been under tremendous pressure by the Xi-led Communist Government for creating tons of private wealth. After months of bureaucratic scrutiny, Alibaba had to pay a hefty fine of USD 2.8 billion to settle it’s pending cases with the State. Wang Xing, Co-founder of food delivery platform Meituan and Lei Jun, Co-founder of Xiaomi Smartphones have committed to donate vast sums of their personal wealth while Alibaba has committed USD 15 billion over the next five years towards philanthropic activities in the country.