Annual online shopping event Double 11 Photos: VCG and Chen Xia/GT
Double 11 is an online shopping event held by Chinese tech giant Alibaba every November 11 since 2009. On this day, countless shops on e-retailer Taobao are involved in sales promotions, with most offering deals and discounts in order to lure shoppers.
In 2015, the day's trading volume was over 90 billion yuan ($13.5 billion), while in 2016 it surpassed 120 billion yuan. This year, however, sales hit a record-breaking 168 billion yuan. Indeed, Double 11 has become China's event du jour, propping up the nation's entire e-commerce industry.
The Global Times recently asked some Chinese and foreign residents about their personal thoughts on Double 11, if they participated and if they have any advice for newbies to China's thriving e-retailer sector.
Shen Wenwen, a Chinese female, said that she declined to participate in this year's Double 11 event due to having a bad experience in 2016. "I bought something on Taobao, but it was poor quality, so I gave it a negative review. The vendor then called me and said she'd refund me a small amount of money if I deleted my review, so I did, but then she blocked me without giving me the refund, which means I couldn't re-post my negative review," Shen complained.
"They are swindlers. Don't be fooled!" Shen added, explaining that most Taobao vendors deliberately raise the normal retail price of their merchandise in the weeks ahead of Double 11 so that it appears that, on the day of the event, the goods are cheaper when really it is just the real price.
Another Chinese woman, Zhang Wen, said she rarely participates in Double 11. "I think that the day is just a gimmick to get people to go on Taobao. Really, everything - the quality of the merchandise and the quality of the service - declines on Double 11. I'm a rational person, so I don't get caught up in the hype," Zhang told the Global Times.
Tingting, a Chinese woman, said she purchased a pair of boots that were on sale that day, while Xiaodi got herself a simple insulated lunch box. "I think there are honest businessmen and also profiteers on Double 11. But now that this event has become a thing, just enjoy it," Tingting told the Global Times.
Obbie Ofili from England used Double 11 day to buy some discounted branded sneakers, but advised others to proceed cautiously.
Some people complain that Double 11 makes them feel anxious, because everyone is shopping, and if you don't buy something, you will feel you lost out on an opportunity to shop.
American woman Karin Adoni agrees. "Yes, of course there's pressure, because that's whole purpose of it and the shops are waiting for you. But the decision, people need to make that on their own." Adoni also told the Global Times that she often shops online in China because she thinks it is very time-efficient. But she is also aware of its shortcomings.
"Sometimes you don't get exactly what you ordered, because the fabric or the style or the quality are not what you expected."
This article was written by Zhou Xinyu.
Scan to watch a video of the entire interview
Tingting (left) and Xiaodi