Every year, on 11 November, China celebrates the “Double 11 Day”, a day for single people. Invented by some students in Nanjing in the 1990’s, this day of celebration has quickly become a “commercial celebration”, during which millions of companies and brands grant discounts and slash prices – especially on sales websites – to encourage consumption.

Double 11 Day, a day for single people in China

Double 11 Day

Thus, 11  November has become one of the biggest days – with China’s New Year – for shopping and discounts in China. Chinese consumers – and not only the single ones! – take this opportunity and pounce on good deals, and they have only 24 hours to do it, so this generates a large number of impulse purchasing decisions. A very efficient way to boost domestic demand in the country which has the highest number of web users (no less than 632 million web users have been registered, with a 14 million growth since January 2014).

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A lot of local and international brands will jump at the chance this year again and slash prices within 24 hours: an unmistakable opportunity for them.

The residents of Hong Kong also follow the movement, although this day is a Mainland China-specific celebration. On 11 November, they use to pounce on Chinese online sales platforms and purchase in volume.

Traditional shops in China also offer discounts on Double 11 Day. Therefore, this celebration is not reserved for web actors, although they are the ones who get the biggest pieces of the pie since consumers gain the most from ordering on the web while staying at home or via their mobile rather than facing the crowd in physical shops.

Tmall, the winner of Double 11 Day every year

Tmall, the e-commerce platform – owned by Alibaba Group, equivalent to eBay – would hit harder on Double 11 Day: every year, the gains are formidable for the e-commerce giant. In 2012, Tmall used the following strategy: offering an entire page of discounts only available within 37 minutes. A great stroke of genius: Alibaba’s turnover has surged: 1 billion yuans in only 37 minutes!

Tmall 2012

In 2013, Tmall reached 10 billion yuans of orders from more than 100 million consumers within only 6 hours, while this threshold had been reached within 13 hours in 2012. Figures show that from the first minute, this day, 13.7 million consumers had already ordered at least one item. Thus, last year, total revenues have reached 35 billion yuans for Alibaba Group via its platforms Taobao and Tmall.

A real price war for e-commerce actors in China

Like every year, war is declared between the e-commerce giant Alibaba and the other Chinese e-commerce platforms such as JD.com (Jingdong Mall), Suning, or Dangdang. This year, Alibaba aims to beat its own record. To prepare the ground, attract attention to itself, and be the “winner-take-all”, Tmall has not to wait until D-Day to grant discounts: it has started to offer goods deals from 15 October. However, the discounts will be even bigger on Double 11 Day.

Tmall has launched an advertising campaign in China’s biggest cities…

Tmall advertising campaign

and a communication campaign on its own website.

website Tmall

The same applies to JD.com: its website is ready, and the company has also launched a huge advertising campaign in the subway and in the streets of China’s biggest cities. We can notice that the color code and visuals are almost the same as Tmall’s ones.

website JD.com
JD.com - Campagne de publicité

Suning did the same: an advertising campaign in China’s big cities and on its online platform. The competition is tough, especially for smaller e-commerce actors…

A few more figures…

  • Every year, sales volume registered on Double 11 Day is experiencing an average of 640% annual growth. Sales have increased by more than 80% from 2012 to 2013.
  • An increasing number of Chinese consumers buy via their mobile. Thus, last year, transactions on mobile have reached 877 million dollars.
  • More than 200 foreign companies (from more than 20 countries) present on China’s market have confirmed their participation for Double 11 Day.

However, there are some drawbacks for consumers: the products ordered on 11 November take much more time to be delivered because of the huge amount of orders made the same day in the whole country. They will have to show more patience. But here again, Alibaba has thought of everything: for the first time this year, the company has installed additional servers and warehouses in China and outside of the country.

Ebay and Amazon: the same strategy for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

To compare, eBay and Amazon, the two Western e-commerce giants, adopt the same strategy for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In the United States and Canada, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, which announces the start for end-of-year purchases. Cyber Monday takes place the following Monday.


This year again, Double 11 Day makes a great big noise in China, and especially on the web. One more reason to admit that digital is now at the heart of consumer behavior in China.

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  1. I fully support the Nov. 11 Veterans Day holiday of the US. It is a time to pay tribute to those who have and are still defending our country, most especially for wounded Vets and those who died for our country. However, the Chinese are taught from birth to make money, to succeed and prosper. Although latest statics show a slowing growth in the Chinese economy, it will still progress. The Chinese are a work-oriented people. They will stop at nothing to further grow their market share. Components and parts in most electrical devices are made in China because it is cheaper. These very same devices tout a US or Japanese name brand. High-end clothing is labeled as “made in China”. When we can throw out our old ideals of the workplace, and outsmart the Chinese, only then will the US become stronger again.

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