Filed under: Brilliant Marketing Ideas In History, Chinese Culture, Devious Strategy, Social Media
Today it’s ‘singles day’ in China.
If you haven’t lived here or don’t run a big multinational corporation, you probably haven’t heard of it.
But if you have – or do – I’m pretty certain it’s a day you find very important.
Singles day was originally created by some university students to celebrate ‘being single’.
In a culture that believes and promotes the importance of family, being single was – and still is – something that tends to provoke more questions than support.
It’s even harder if you’re a female.
If you’re not married by 30, you’re labelled ‘left behind’ … a horrible label implying you will be left on the shelf until eternity.
Apart from the fact it’s hurtful and simply not true, the fact that the culture believes you can only be happy if you are with someone before the age of 30 is pretty mad.
But then there’s a lot of madness in this country.
Some is beautiful, some not so much.
Which goes back to singles day.
The university students behind it, didn’t want to feel like they were an embarrassment of society, so they created this day to embrace and celebrate their situation. To be honest, for China – especially in the 90’s – that was a pretty ballsy move.
They chose the 11th of November because it features all the ones … 11.11 … and for years, it was a day embraced by many university students, especially in Nanjing, where it is alleged to have started.
Then in 2009, business got involved.
Seeing an opportunity to exploit the ‘singles day celebration’, they started offering special online deals to entice people to spend.
Now China doesn’t need an excuse to shop and before you knew it, singles day morphed from a day of celebrating singledom with your single mates into the single largest online shopping day in the World.
Well, last year it generated US$9.3 billion.
Yes, 9.3 billion. In US dollars in 24 hours.
If you think that is impressive, they did US$2 billion in the first hour.
For all the talk in the West of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, nothing compares to the craziness of China’s Singles Day and given the sales in 2009 was only US$8 million [not billion] and only 27 retailers offered discounts, you can see the level of growth that has happened in the space of 6 years and why every CEO of every retail organisation in the World is desperate to get in on the action.
The thing is that the discounts aren’t just on big stuff … it’s on the little things too.
House cleaning goods. Make-up. Batteries.
In fact, far more little things get bought than big.
Not just because there’s more on offer, but because Singles Day has become something where people feel they have to buy something just so they can feel they were part of the madness.
You know when FOMO extends to buying three AA batteries, just so you can say you ‘bagged a bargain’ to your mates, the World – or should I say, China – has gone mad.
But then, as I said, China does mental better than anywhere else in the World.
And that’s why it’s so bloody special.
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