China’s Singles’ Day Beats the US’ ‘Black Friday’ On E-Sales

Lovers shop chocolates and flowers on Valentine’s Day, what do singles do on Singles’ Day then? They shop, too.

According to the Internet, “Singles Day was started by Chinese college students in the 1990s as a version of Valentine’s Day for people without romantic partners. The timing was based on the date: Nov. 11, or “11.11” — four singles. Unattached young people would treat each other to dinner or give gifts to woo that special someone and end their single status.”

This one-day festival generated massive sales for the e-retail platform, far surpassing last year’s Singles’ Day. Over 100 million visitors drove T-Mall sales to 13.2 billion yuan (US$2.1billion). Sales revenue figures on this day alone were equivalent to the monthly or yearly revenue figures of other similar platforms in China. T-Mall and Taobao (two major e-commerce sites in China) final earnings, 19.1 billion yuan (US$3billion), broke the previous one-day, e-commerce sales record of US$1.25 billion, according to comScore.

ComScore also calculated last week the U.S. Black Friday online sales, which topped $1 billion for the first time, hitting $1.042 billion, a little bit over one third of China’s Singles’ Day record. This disparity seems more astonishing when considering that China has 193 million online shoppers, versus 170 million of the U.S., according to Boston Consulting Group.

On this year’s Singles’ Day, Nov. 11, 2012, DDB China Group launched T-Mall’s Double Eleven’s Crazy Shopping campaign, whose results proved that it was possible to change the behavior of Chinese consumers to embrace Singles’ Day as an enjoyable shopping festival, rather than just as another fun-themed holiday.

The campaign was firstly channeled through a TVC on CCTV as well as the Hunan Satellite TV, both one of the most viewed channels in Mainland China. Online videos also ran on Youku, Tencent and Sina. Banners and advertising material ran in out-of-home light boxes in metros and bus shelters and metro stations carried eye-catching wall sized banners. Peak weekend viewing of online videos also increased the exposure of the campaign.

Previously in September, DDB China Group also launched a brand campaign for T-Mall ‘World-famous shopping paradise at your finger tips’. The spot is based on the insight that shopping embodies every consumer’s desire to own and collect beautiful things. Using T-Mall, this experience has never been smarter and more effortless at their own pace, as part of their own routine and most importantly in the comfort of their own home. Here are the two spots shot in Hong Kong and New York City:

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