Friday 9 December 2016

Bachelors and bachelorettes will gather to celebrate SinglesDay - and go on €12bn shopping spree

Sean Duffy

Published 11/11/2016 | 02:30

Today, bachelors and bachelorettes across China will gather to celebrate SinglesDay - a day in the Chinese calendar where those not romantically involved celebrate being unattached.

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The date, November 11, is chosen because the number "1" is said to resemble an individual that is alone.

It's referred to as 'Bare Sticks Day' in China, because of how it looks numerically.

In recent years, Singles Day has become the largest online shopping day in the world after China's largest ecommerce firm, Alibaba, began to offer massive discounts to online shoppers. Last year, spending on Singles' Day topped $14bn (€12.8bn), four times the amount spent on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

There were 467m delivery orders processed across China in 24 hours, with around 140,000 transaction per second at peak times.

China currently has a large gender imbalance owing to the Communist Party's "One child policy" which was introduced in 1978, and which was only revoked last year.

Restrictions remain on Chinese families however, with married couples still only permitted to have two children.

The gender imbalance created by the law has resulted in a disparity of 20 million between the number of males and females in the country.

By 2030, it is expected that a quarter of all Chinese men in their late 30s will be single.

In a country where marriage takes place at a young age, official figures show that in 2015, China witnessed its second year of decline in the number of newly registered marriages, totalling a 9.1pc drop from 2013.

Irish technology company eShopWorld is seeking to capitalise on the largesse on offer on Singles' Day, with the company seeking to gain a foothold in the Asian market. EShopWorld is Ireland's fastest growing ecommerce provider.

The company has launched a new hub in Singapore, an indication of eShopWorld's determination to capitalise on Asia's growing middle class. EShopWorld's ecommerce offering allows shoppers to engage directly with a brand, through a fully localised checkout.

Shoppers can browse in the currency of their choice, view products priced locally, track orders and make quick product returns.

The company's continued growth has seen it create over 60 new jobs in 2016.

While the firm has set its stall out to operate in the global FinTech market, the majority of the new posts have been created in Ireland. Singles' Day last year saw a rise of 60pc in sales, and with that figure set to rise again this year, the Irish FinTech firm is now positioning itself in a booming market.

"Singles' Day reflects ongoing societal change in China", eShopWorld ceo Tommy Kelly said.

"The age at which people now marry is increasing, creating a market of young, single, tech savvy and increasingly middle class consumers," he said.

"Having a local presence is key to understanding and tapping into this growth potential".

A recent survey found that worldwide retail ecommerce sales will reach $1.9 trillion (€1.7m) this year, representing overall growth of 23.7pc.

That figure is set to rise to $4 trillion(€3.6 trillion) by 2020, accounting for almost 15pc of total retail spending worldwide.

Ecommerce giant Alibaba has said it expects to break previous sales records, and has announced it will provide virtual reality shopping to customers during this year's event.

Irish Independent

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