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11-11 in China: a good day for ‘singles,’ a good day for business

CompanyTanya Hart, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

You wouldn’t normally associate true love with shopping blitzes, but in the case of China’s 11-11 holiday, the two go together like a ring on a finger.

As the U.S. gears up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, China has already had its biggest online shopping day of the year – on Nov. 11, called “Singles’ Day.”

It’s a Chinese take on Valentine’s Day, but instead of celebrating lovebird status, 11-11 is all about treating yourself. And over the years, the holiday has become China’s biggest online shopping day of the year, where sales go for 24 hours and break all kinds of records. What better way to say “I love you” to yourself than online goodies?

Gap participated through our store on Tmall, part of Alibaba Group, which is affiliated with Taobao — the online marketplace in China (imagine if Amazon and eBay had a love child). We offered great discounts, free shipping and coupons for in-store deals.

Needless to say, our online and logistics teams in China prepare for this event for weeks ahead of time – much like what we do for Cyber Monday in the U.S. It’s a way for us to introduce Gap to new customers in China, as a lot of people visit our website for the first time on 11-11.

According to NPR, Single’s Day Internet sales this year smashed last year's U.S. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined.

And Tmall broke its mobile shopping record, pulling in purchases from 12 million user accounts.

As we look forward to the holiday shopping season in the U.S., it was fun watching 11-11 play out in China (and we hope our online teams there are getting a little sleep).