BEIJING, Nov. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Ahead of so-called Singles' Day on the 11th of this month, online sales have already begun peaking.
The leading e-retail platform, tmall.com, has promoted its fifty-percent-off discount to lure consumers. They are also trying to attract buyers through social media. Vice President of tmall.com Wang Yulei says more than 20 thousand online stores have joined the Single's Day campaign.
"The number of stores going to join the Double 11 Day promotion has doubled. We haven't got a final number of how many products going to be on sale yet. But so far, we've seen many more products planned to be put on shelves with discounts."
During last year's Single's Day, tmall.com, together with taobao.com, reached a record high of 19.1 billion yuan in sales volume, which considered a hallmark in the e-commerce history of China.
Singles Day was first started by Chinese college students in the 1990s as an antithesis to Valentine's Day, a celebration for people without romantic partners. The timing was based on the date: Nov. 11--or double 11--for singles. Unattached young people would treat each other to dinner or give gifts to woo that special someone and end their single status.
But now, the Singles Day has been promoted as a kind of grand craze just for the shopping season kicks off, thanks to thousands of discounted products being promoted online.
Taobao.com was the first big e-retail platform which used the double 11 idea to promote sales. Taobao.com reached one million yuan worth of sales volume on that day in 2009, when they first promoted the Singles Day idea. In 2010, that volume increased to 936 million yuan. The figure climbed up to 5.3 billion yuan in 2011, putting huge demand on shipping services, also an iconic moment in e-commerce history. The figure doubled in 2012.
The potential for large profits is seducing other e-commerce competitors to get their piece, such as jd.com and suning.com. Manager Li Xi, from JD.com, says they've also got their own strategy to compete on Double 11.
"During this year's event, we will carry out small trials with some brands, including time-honored brands and department stores."
In many department stores located in Chongqing, customers have already found tmall.com logos attached to products being sold in stores. Customers are very happy to try on the clothes in real stores, and make an order online to enjoy the discounts. Deputy Secretary-In-Chief, Wan Donghui, of China E-commerce Industry Association says this is the trend of commerce to come.
"More and more companies in traditional industries or more retailing companies are forging commercial models of OTO, which is from offline to online. For example, the franchise stores are opening their online stores, while online platforms are cooperating with offline stores. I think the trend is, quite obviously, beneficial for everyone."
E-commerce is considered to be elbowing out the traditional retailing industry, but the reality is both sides are learning from each other.