What You Need to Know About the Chinese Consumer: Holidays in China

September 5, 2014

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Each year, the words “holiday” and “sales” seem to become closer aligned. In fact, holidays are so successful in the e-commerce world that some “holidays” are almost completely made up to entice or justify increased spending.

Travel to China, and you’ll find the holiday hype is no different. In fact, you could say the country’s love of holidays — and the online free-for-all of slashed prices and splurging consumers — is even more extreme than in the West.

China even shares the same practice of giving its newly fabricated holidays peculiar names. Granted, there’s no Cyber Monday or Black Friday, but their Chinese counterparts are dubbed Singles Day and Double 12. And they are much, much bigger.

Let’s explore.

Singles Day

Think the opposite of Valentine’s Day. Single’s Day, celebrated on November 11 (11/11), was birthed in the ’90s by several college students who thought the numeral form of the date looked like “four solitary stick figures.”

The quirky “holiday” was given new life by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which co-opted the day in the name of e-commerce. In just a few short years, Singles Day has exploded into the largest shopping day in the world. Alibaba processed more than $5.75 billion sales last 11/11, making 2013’s Singles Day a new record in e-commerce history — even outperforming Cyber Monday sales in the US by two and a half times.

Double 12

Alibaba was also behind this even newer holiday, which exists to encourage retailers to improve the quality of products and services offered online. Singles Day has proven to be so successful that Double 12 has emerged as a follow-up. Double 12, celebrated on December 12 (12/12) is focused on small and mid-size retailers. This offspring of Singles Day is only in its third year, so it’s a good one to keep your eye on this season.

Autumn Moon Festival

When the moon is the roundest and brightest, it calls for celebration. In China, a full moon is believed to be a symbol of peace, prosperity and family reunion. The Autumn Moon Festival is one of the most important festivals in Chinese culture. On the fifteenth day of the eighth lunisolar month, usually falling in September or October, families gather to partake in festivities dedicated to admiration of the moon. Small gift items tend to sell well during this time.


Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor

Understanding-cn-consumer-LPTo learn about additional Chinese holidays making a splash in the e-commerce industry, download this free eBook, Understanding the Chinese Consumer.