EN-Episode 55: Double Eleven Singles’ Carnival

Original audio (translated transcript below):

Hello, everyone. I’m Kaycee.


Double Eleven has just passed. For those who don’t know, Double Eleven is November 11, also known as the Double Eleven Shopping Spree.


There are so many names for this one day of the year. Where do we start. Well, let’s start with the Guanbang Festival. 11 November, when you look at the numbers, looks like four smooth sticks. The Chinese word for “bare stick” means single. Thus, November 11 becomes Singles’ Day, the Day of the Bachelor. In fact, the origins of Kwan-Bat Day have always been a mystery, and there are various theories. Among the many theories, it is a widely accepted view that the festival originated from the campus culture of Nanjing University. This was probably in 1993. There were similar events like this in different areas at the time, but it seems to have been more active at Nanjing University, and through group activities and media dissemination, Double Eleven became popular in the community.


Speaking of singles, I think of a question that was popular years ago. It was: “Which of the 10 levels of loneliness are you in? At the time, someone concluded that it was just loneliness, some of the most representative events. The first level is a little bit lonely but not particularly lonely, and the tenth level is a super lonely thing. So let me tell you about these ten levels, and let’s see where you are, or which level you think is the loneliest. As these things are all quite competent, don’t take them too seriously, just listen to them, think about them, read them, have some fun. I’ll start by saying that it’s a hierarchy.


Level 1: Going to the supermarket alone
Level 2: One goes to a fast food restaurant
Level 3: Going to a cafe alone
Level 4: Going to the movies alone
Level 5: Eating hotpot alone
Level 6: Going to KTV alone
Level 7: Going to see the sea alone
Level 8: Going to an amusement park alone
Level 9: Moving house alone
Level 10: Going to an operation alone
I’ll share my opinion briefly, I can’t just let people think while I’m not doing anything here, right?


Level 1: Going to the supermarket alone
This is a bit of super enjoyment for me. I love going to the supermarket alone. I don’t really like to go with other people. Usually if I go with friends or family, I do, which is, once I get in the supermarket, I go my separate way. I’ll let them do their shopping and then I’ll run off and do my own shopping. I’ll finish my shopping, check out and then wait for them at the door. So I don’t think it’s a characteristic of being alone, I guess.


Level 2: Going to a fast food restaurant by myself
Going to a fast food restaurant, I can live with that. But, in general, I don’t like to go to any place where I eat alone, I feel quite lonely.


Level 3: Going to a cafe alone
If I want to go to a cafe to do something, such as study, deal with something, or wait for someone, I can do that. But I don’t go to a café to drink coffee alone. This is the same reason why I don’t want to go to dinner alone.


Level 4: Going to the movies alone
In previous years, I would not have gone to the cinema alone. I think at my age now, I can live with that, but I probably wouldn’t want to go too much either. I think cinema is also a group activity. It must be an activity for more than two people. If I were alone, I wouldn’t want to go to the cinema.


Level 5: Eating hotpot alone
Why? I can’t really do this one. I think hotpot is something that is more fun the more people you have. I don’t think this will work, I can’t accept this.


Level 6: Going to KTV alone
KTV is not in my interest in the first place. I’m a terrible singer and I don’t go to KTV if I have friends who ask me out, so naturally I won’t go alone.


Level 7: Going to see the sea alone
I’ve been to this one. I was on a trip to Malaysia. Of course, when you go to Malaysia, you have to go to the beach. It was the time of sunset, and wow, the colour of the sky and the blue sea, it was super romantic and beautiful. I went alone, and there was no one to share the moment with. After I took the photos, I felt, for a moment, that I was so alone. I was so touched that I swore I would never go to such a romantic place alone again.


Level 8: Going to an amusement park alone
It’s the same as KTV, I…if I don’t want to go with my friends, why should I go alone?


Level 9: Moving alone
I’ve done this one a lot of times. I’ve moved many times by myself and I think it’s okay, I’m just a bit tired, but I think it’s normal, I’m not alone.


Level 10: Going to surgery alone
I’ve been lucky enough not to have had surgery, but if I had to go to surgery alone, yes, that would be perfectly fine.


Okay, that seems a bit too thorough an analysis. Let’s move on.


After Double Eleven, it is also the Double Eleven Shopping Carnival. Why is it a shopping carnival? This first originated on Taobao (now called Tmall), a shopping site owned by China’s Alibaba. The first time they held a “Taobao Mall Sale Day” was on 11 November 2009, and every year since then, they have held an event like this on 11 November. Because it was so effective and profitable, of course, it had to be continued.


In April 2008, due to the project’s slow initial development, the original head of Taobao.com left, leaving only about 20 people on the team below. 2009, after then Taobao CFO Zhang Yong took over Taobao Mall, Zhang Yong and his team suggested that a large discount sale could be held in the autumn, modelled on the big Thanksgiving Day sale in the US, to “The goal of the sale was to “make consumers remember Taobao Mall through an activity or an event”, and the sale was finally timed to coincide with the Double Eleven on November 11. “The reason is that November is the autumn and winter season, people need to pick up extra things, while November is in between China’s Golden Week and Christmas, there is no big consumer festivals, the use of Double Eleven in the students, white-collar class appeal, open the young online shopping groups The promotion is free of charge. Despite the fact that the promotion did not charge any fees, many brands eventually declined the invitation, and after the release of the event poster, more than 30 merchants were scheduled to participate in the event, but some brands withdrew one after another, and finally only 27 merchants participated in the Double 11 event, including Li Ning, Lenovo and Philips. In November, which is considered by the industry to be the traditional slow sales season, Taobao Mall’s turnover exceeded 52 million yuan in one fell swoop, 10 times the daily turnover at the time.


It was that way in 2009, are you curious about the Double Eleven revenue in 2020? There’s an advantage to recording late, otherwise you wouldn’t know how amazing this year’s transaction value is. This year’s Double Eleven turnover was 498.2 billion bucks. Scary, right. I think it’s pretty scary. That’s a lot of money, for goodness sake.
Finally, it’s interesting to note that in 2013, some Chinese courier companies rushed in more than 100 planes to handle the shipping of Tmall orders during the Double Eleven period. According to Tmall, the most popular squadron of F16 fighters in the US military, for example, 100 planes would make up six combat squadrons, and 100 planes could already arm two US aircraft carrier battle groups. 100 planes, just to transport some retail items, geez. I don’t think I’ll ever fly 100 planes in my lifetime. I’ll start counting them from now on.


Well, I seem to have said a bit too much today, so that’s all we have for this issue. We’ll see you next issue.

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