Young, free and single people in China will be making the most of their liberty on Wednesday, or so they should be.
The reality is, many will be glued to their smartphones and computer screens, snapping up bargains on what is the largest online shopping day in the world.
Taobao is preparing to smash even more records on 11.11
Chinese web retail giant Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao sites alone posted sales of US$5.8bn in 2013 and US$9.3bn last year. By comparison, the spend across the whole of the internet on Cyber Monday in the in 2013 was US$2.2bn.
This year, that number will be even bigger, with some commentators even expecting to see the US$15bn threshold smashed.
So, how did this epic online retail carnival begin?
You have to go all the way back to 2009 to see the start of this modern purchasing phenomenon. That was when Taobao first encouraged major discounting. This year, savings of 70%-90% will be standard, with bright, busy adverts popping up all over the internet to remind you, just in case you didn’t know.
Some will say that in the weeks leading up to 11.11, prices are artificially jacked up to make these savings even more tantalizing. Another thing to consider is Chinese New Year, the major gift-giving holiday in the country, always falls in January or February, and this day now serves as the kick-off to the seasonal shopping season.
The other reason it has been such a success is the rise of smartphone use and ease of payment. Tools like Alipay make it easier than ever to order whatever your heart desires within a couple of swipes of your phone screen.
And what better tonic for a fragile singleton on 11.11, than some retail therapy from the comfort of your phone, without having to see all those smug couples cooing at one another in the mall…