Singles Day Sees Chinese Drop $9.3 Billion in a Single Day

A woman is in the jewelry store
If there has been any doubt that the Chinese economy is coming for the United States’s number one spot after overtaking Japan as number two in 2010, it’s time to put those doubts to rest. Chinese consumers smashed global sales records this week when — in a single day — they spent more than $9.3 billion on online goods and services. That breaks down to nearly $380 million spent per hour.

The huge amount of spending coincided with the celebration of Singles Day, a uniquely Chinese consumer holiday that isn’t unlike Black Friday in the United States. As the name implies, the day, celebrated on 11/11, is meant for singles to go out and buy themselves something nice. As the statistics show, many Chinese went out this year and did just that.

Chinese Sales Dwarf Those in the United States

Compared to Singles Day, Black Friday looks like an under-performing yard sale. Last year, Black Friday only pulled in an estimated $1.2 billion. Industry analysts expect spending per capita to grow by 5% for the Black Friday weekend this year, including for small business Monday, but even so, American shoppers won’t spend anywhere near what their Chinese counterparts did on Singles Day.

It’s a sign of the times. The Chinese middle class is growing and seemingly booming, especially when compared to the American middle class, which seems to be shrinking by the day. Just like American shoppers, the Chinese are increasingly spending their money online, with 46% of all shoppers turning to social media for information on products and services before making a purchase. The obvious difference is that the far-larger Chinese middle class has the capital to pull the trigger after that research phase.

The battle for the global economy isn’t just taking place among consumers, but among eCommerce giants as well. The vast majority of spending on Singles Day went to the China-based Alibaba, an eCommerce platform not unlike Amazon or eBay. The service has clearly shown it can go toe-to-toe with the biggest names in the world, retailers who have so far been largely uncontested. And that, in this increasingly digital age of commerce, could make more of a difference to shifting global economies than anything else.

Do you think the success of Singles Day portends China’s takeover of the global economy? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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