Singles Day is the biggest e-commerce day in the world. Organized by China’s Alibaba, shopping sales on November 11 hit a record $25 billion, 40% more than on Singles Day 2016. In contrast, Prime Day, organized by Amazon achieved only $1 billion in sales. During the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend of 2016 American online shoppers spent $5 billion.
Singles Day started out as an informal holiday in China, celebrating people who stayed single. Similiar to Valentine’s Day in the western world Singles Day took place on 11/11 . In 2009, Alibaba turned it into a shopping holiday and in the past 8 years, sales have steadily increased.
Although the event targets mostly Chinese customers, shoppers came from 220 countries. Over 80 brands took part in the event, with Nike and Xiaomi Corp. among the biggest winners. Household goods and electrical appliances were the most bought products, but customers sought bargains for almost everything, ranging from cheap toilet paper to rice.
At its peak Alibaba’s computers handled 250 000 transactions per second, most of them coming in via mobile phones. In the weeks before the event was held, Alibaba had helped 600,000 companies upgrade their computer systems to make them fit for Singles Day.
The event was also turned into a gala in Shanghai where celebrities Nicole Kidman and tennis star Maria Sharapova counted down the seconds until the world’ largest sales event started.
Many critics of the event say that Singles Day is environmentally controversial. It creates an enormous amount of waste. According to Greepeace, 1 billion packages were delivered in the days that followed the event.
Alibaba’s Singles Day is a display of Chinese spending power. The company’s owner, Jack Ma, is one of China’s richest men. He has been investing heavily in new technologies including automated stores which use facial recognition systems.
- according to = … as said by
- achieve = here: reach a number of sales
- automated = where everything is done automatically, without people helping
- although = while
- bargain = to buy something cheaply, for less money than usual
- billion = a thousand million
- brand = type of product made by a company
- celebrate = here: in honour of, to show respect for
- celebrity = famous person
- controversial = here: to cause a lot of disagreement
- critic = a person who is against something
- customer = a person who buys something
- deliver = to bring to a person’s home
- display = to show something
- e-commerce = buying and selling things with computers over the Internet
- electrical appliance = things you use at home and need electricity, like a cooker or washing machine
- enormous = very large
- environment = nature and the world around us
- facial recognition = when a computer image of a person can find out who they are
- handle = deal with
- heavily = very much
- household goods = things that you need in the house and use every day
- in contrast = the difference between two things
- including = also
- increase = to go up
- informal = not official
- record = highest
- sales = buying and selling products
- seek – sought = look for
- steadily = slowly
- target = people who the event aims at; potential customers
- transaction = here: the sales of a single product
- upgrade = here: to give a computer more power, so that it can do more things
- via = by way of, through
- waste = unwanted things that you throw away and don’t need any more