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All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11

Nov.10, 2021

All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11

Is there any national wide event going on recently? Of course! It's the Double 11 (双十一, Shuāng shíyī) - the yearly online Shopping Festival! This year, it's the 13th 双十一 since it first came out.


Some of you might have heard of it already or even have been participating in it. But I still would like to share with you many interesting stories behind it to help you to know better about its development. In this post, let's have a closer look at 双十一!


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11

The Origin of 双十一


双十一 is originally a festival called Bachelor's Day, also known as The Singles' Day (光棍节 Guānggùn Jié). On this day, many people on the Internet will play jokes whining about a lack of romance in their life.

The date, November 11th (11/11), was chosen because the numeral 1 resembles a bare stick (光棍 guānggùn), which is Chinese Internet slang for an unmarried man who does not add "branches" to the family "tree".


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11

There are many versions about who invented 光棍节. The widely recognized one is that it was born on the campus of Nanjing University in the 1990s. The four boys who were chatting in the dorm joking about that "11.11 should be 光棍节!" may have never thought that it would so popular today.


A fun fact about 光棍节: Paradoxically, this holiday has now become a popular date to celebrate relationships, many couples decide to get married and say goodbye to their single life on this day.


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11

A Humble Start of 双十一 in 2009


With all the Internet revelry, 光棍节 gradually became an opportunity for business.

In 2009, Chinese E-Commerce giant Alibaba ( the parent company of Tmall, Taobao, AliExpress, etc.) created a shopping festival named "Double 11" with the reason to celebrate 光棍节. Alibaba promoted the festival with the slogan: Even if you don't have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you can at least shop like crazy!

By emphasizing that singles who are often shamed over their status should treat themselves in this special day, Alibaba created a kind of party feeling for this festival.


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11


Over a 12-year period, this hyped-up shopping festival has been developed into the most important online shopping festival in China, attracting more and more companies and brands around the world to participate, even overshadowing Black Friday.


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11

A Huge Success in 2020


双十一's sales record break itself every year. The final sales volume in 2020 from November 1st to November 11th reached 498.2 billion RMB (74 billion USD). A new record of 583,000 transactions per second was witnessed too on the first day of Double 11, 2020.

31,766 overseas brands, 105 different industrial chains, 2.1 million offline retail stores were participating in this shopping carnival.


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11

(data and picture from Alibaba Cloud)


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11

Related Internet Vocabulary


Due to the popularity of 双十一, there is a new internet vocabulary related to it emerged. Here I just list 3 of them to show you an example:

剁手 [duò shǒu]: chop hands off

People who are obsessed with online shopping and always regret after buying. They joke that they need to chop off their hands to stop buying.

E.g.: 今天我买了很多东西,我要剁手了。

Jīntiān wǒ mǎi le hěn duō dōngxi, wǒ yào duòshǒu le.

I bought a lot of things today, I need to cut my hands off.


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11


吃土 [chī tǔ]: eat dirt, be broken

If you spend all the money on shopping and have no money for food, there is only dirt left to eat for free then.

E.g.: 这个月没钱了,我只能吃土。

Zhè gè yuè méi qián le, wǒ zhǐ néng chītǔ.

I don't have money left this month, I have to eat dirt.


种草 [zhòng cǎo]: plant grass

Recommend a product and attract people to like it too.

Example: 我今天种草了朋友的一双鞋!

Wǒ jīntiān zhòngcǎo le péngyou de yì shuāng xié!

I like a pair of shoes which my friend recommended to me today!


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11

What's New This Year?


双十一 is constantly expanding and updating itself every year. So what is new about it this year? We can see it from the time for shopping, the platform and the way of purchase.


  • When to buy?

This year the scale of pre-orders is getting even bigger than before as Alibaba applied new strategies like giving away free samples and early bird discount to expand their sales. Although the shopping festival is branded as "Double 11", the sales actually starts on October 20, thus making the Double 11 shopping journey a month long "marathon" instead of a one day shopping thing.

Some people even started planning what to buy in early October while doing research about all the products that they are interested in. In this case, they don't miss any good deal. So, if you are also planning to enjoy the discount of 双十一,do your "homework" in advance.


  • Where to buy?

Live-streaming e-commerce has received lighting speed growth from the stay-at-home economy which accelerated by the outbreak of COVID-19. In this year's Double 11, live-streaming is playing a more significant role in the whole sales process than ever before. About 400 companies and 300 celebrities will hold individual livestreaming sessions on Taobao Live, ranging from luxury goods to daily necessities.

Except Taobao as the main shopping platform, Douyin (Chinese TikTok) is also becoming a popular place for people to watch live-steaming and purchase goods.


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11

(Li Jiaqi in his shopping livestream of Taobao)


When we talk about live-streaming in China, we have to mention the Queen and King of Chinese livestream industry: Viya and Li Jiaqi. Both of them started their first live-streaming on October 20 this year as a grand opener for the festival. Together, they generated about 18.8 billion RMB worth of sales in only one night. And this is just the beginning!


All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11


  • How to buy?

To successfully get the goods you want with the best deal on 双十一, you need to know about the purchasing rules, which might be complicated for you if you are a newbie on Taobao.

The whole process has 3 steps:
1) Pay a deposit(定金, dìngjīn)and pay it early  (October 20th - 31st)
Early birds usually get more free gifts or better discounts, and some of the products are in limited in amount.
2) Get the coupons of each item(优惠券, yōuhuìquàn)
You can usually get extra coupons through live-streaming.
3) Pay the balance(尾款, wěikuǎn)(November 1st - 3rd)
Early payment (at midnight) is also encouraged as you might receive extra gifts.

All You Need to Know About 双十一 - Double 11

There is a joke on Chinese internet saying that understanding the preferential policy of 双十一 is sometimes even more difficult than working out a math problem

(People shopping on Double 11 are like...)


All in all, 双十一 is a triple-win. By bringing customers, companies and online shopping platforms together, it has created a brand new form of business mode and it offers all sides benefits. As a result, you can see it has been keeping booming for over a decade now in China.


I hope this post will help you know more about 双十一. Enjoy your online shopping in this year's 双十一!

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