In China, the "feast of singles", test day of the vigor of consumption

As the Chinese economy slows down, the biggest e-commerce event in the world is a test for online sales platforms.

THE ECONOMY WORLD
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An employee prepares orders at the JD.com online sales platform logistics center in Langfang, China, in November 2015.

Packets are running at full speed on the treadmills of JD's warehouse. com, number two in online commerce in China, behind Alibaba. They pass under gantries equipped with cameras that read QR codes to identify the products that will be pushed to skips to all corners of Shanghai. In Jiading, a district on the outskirts of the country's largest city where JD. com has more than 100,000 square meters of warehouses, we see a lot of boxes, but few humans. As the pace of the world's largest e-commerce event rose to a few days, the International Singles Day on November 11 was a strange day in this highly automated environment.

When JD. com opens its warehouses to journalists, Alibaba also does not skimp on communication. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Singles Day and honoring its reputation as the number one online retailer, the group has launched a communications satellite in space, supposedly to enhance the user experience in the "Double 11". What to illustrate the importance of the event for Chinese e-commerce platforms: inspired by a tradition from Chinese campuses to give gifts to oneself on November 11, nicknamed "party singles "because the date is only" 1 ", the event has grown considerably over the years.

Its commercial version was launched in 2009 by Alibaba before being taken over by other platforms, such as JD. com, then by most Chinese actors of online sales. In 2013, sales of Double 11 exceeded those of the American Black Friday, whose 2018 edition will take place on November 23. In 2016, Alibaba added a gala, with international stars (Mariah Carey and Miranda Kerr, this year) and glitter to focus attention on the event.

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