He Singles Day It is no longer what it was. The golden day for electronic commerce Chinawhere it sells more than combining Black Friday and Cyber Monday, has lost the pull that made it one of the most important dates on the Asian giant’s calendar. Ali Baba, the mother of this consumerist creature, has stopped celebrating her glamorous launch party with international stars like Taylor Swift on stage. The technological titan, which has these days put more than 80 million products in its windows at lower prices, no longer even reveals the final sales count during the largest shopping festival in the world.
11 of 11 was invented in 2009 by the current CEO of Alibaba, Daniel Zhang, inspired by a game played by four students from Nanjing University, who in the 90s decided to celebrate their singlehood by giving each other gifts. Currently it continues to be a shopping marathon with thousands of online markets and an aggressive price war between brands to attract customers, but the internal economic turbulence, added to the Government’s campaign to puncture the mega promotional pomp that surrounded the event , has dulled the appeal of the festival. The last figure published, from 2021, increased Alibaba’s sales during the day to 80,000 million euros.
Something that does not change over the years is the army of streamers sellers who broadcast on video apps and e-commerce platforms. From October 31 to November 11, they have not stopped promoting and selling all kinds of products with succulent discounts. The star of these broadcasts is Li Jiaqi, a thirty-something who became famous because, in 2019, he sold 15 million lipsticks in just 15 minutes. Brands use influencers like Li because they mix entertainment and sales, and that hooks millions of people, especially younger consumers, addicted to an industry that is getting bigger and bigger.
China’s live streaming e-commerce market, employing more than 1.23 million streamers, recorded a growth of 121.5% last year, reaching 961 billion yuan (125 billion euros). According to the Chinese consulting firm iResearch, there are more than 700 million users who follow live shopping channels on popular platforms such as Taobao, Douyin o Kuaishouwhere influencers star in a great show in which they spend many hours a day telling their lives while they test products that they then sell.
When Singles’ Day arrives – which in its origins was all concentrated in a single day, but now the discounts last more than a week -, brands raffle off these streamers, who are now using artificial intelligence (AI) to skyrocket your profits. This is the case of Chen Shuei, who has more than three million followers and sells everything from cat food to washing machines at the shopping festival. Chen has spent the last nine days live streaming 24 hours a day. She has been doing 10-hour days. The rest of the time, she was replaced by her digital clone, a perfect AI-generated avatar.