Single minded shopping

Single minded shopping

Online shopping can be a dangerous business. According to the Shanghai Daily a man in Harbin was found unconscious last Sunday evening, having spent 18 consecutive hours on his computer looking for bargains. After no food or drink for the duration, he was hospitalised and put on a drip. The newspaper reports four similar cases that day, November 11, too. The reason? Singles’ Day, an annual event that offers steep discounts online, which was launched three years ago by Alibaba’s popular consumer shopping sites Taobao and Tmall (see WiC94).

The day’s name derives from all the ‘ones’ in the date, but there has been nothing single digit about its sales growth. In 2010 Singles’ Day garnered sales of Rmb936 million, which rose to Rmb5.3 billion last year. According to Economic Information Daily the figure for this year was Rmb19.1 billion ($3.06 billion). Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics suggest that daily sales of ‘social consumer goods’ in October (across China) were Rmb61.1 billion. That means this year’s Singles’ Day activity equated to almost a third of standard daily consumer sales. Another interesting piece of data: Alibaba reported 213 million unique visits to its sites that day, which accounts for almost 40% of China’s internet population. In fact, 10 million unique users turned up at the Taobao and Tmall sites in the first minute of the Singles’ Day extravaganza.

Separately, Alibaba reported that its second quarter net income rose 113% to $293 million. Expect Singles’ Day to give the third quarter a substantial boost.

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