Hello, greetings from a very cool, snowy Shunyi for Tuesday November 9th, just 2 days from the much hyped, dare we say OVER, China 2021 Double Eleven shopping festival. Today we are bringing you an Alibaba video: How Chinese Consumers Shop Online – 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. Or maybe how Big tech would like it. An innocuous enough title at first glance, but is more going on below the surface than is visible?
It’s probably not news to you that this is THE biggest China shopping festival of the year. Each year we sit and wait for the hours post 11/11 to tick by to see just by how many million the current years sales out paced past years. And breath a sigh of relief that finally, we are not bombarded by ridiculously idiotic ads bearing the 11/11 logo everywhere we turn.
Although we have not covered it, if you have been following any China news, especially on Caixin Global or Yicai Global you will know that Big Tech and the big e-com platforms have come under close scrutiny from government over the way they operate.
Alleged infringements include unfair practice, price gauging, stand over tactics, bullying, anti competitive behaviour, empire building, customer privacy breaches, abuse of customer data, harassment and illegal working hours. Probably not too dissimilar to the long list of grievances many governments are looking into against some of the mega tech and E-com platforms globally. There is also a growing under current of disquiet in society generally that this is becoming a tiresome event and maybe popularity is waning.
One of the many changes imposed by government this time around was the “official start time” which, as we have discussed earlier, is now some 2 weeks prior to the 11th of November. In previous years, midnight, or one second after, has been the kick off time, resulting millions of Chinese jamming the Internet and pulling all nighters to be in line to scoop up a bargain.
Amid concerns on a health basis and the apparently negative impact on many businesses with tired or no show staff, start time was pulled back to 8pm. Some platforms hailed this as a success with many times more sales in the first 4 hours this year than last. Of course this isn’t any indication that the same increase will be shown in the end figure. More likely an attempt to put a brave face on the new instruction.
“How do I even know what to buy?”
That was section of the video that raised our eyebrows. Really? So big tech is now telling consumers what they should buy, even if they don’t need it? Another “new helpful addition” this year is senior mode. Now, customers at what ever age AI bots deem to be seniors can visit a page dedicated solely to them. Among laudable improvements, such as cleaner layout, bigger font, seniors can now view their favourite products without the distraction and clutter of other items. Hmm, so we are over 65, we now must forget our slinky, Lycra fluorescent hoodie and settle on a sensible, drab, grey button up woollie cardigan? Isn’t this trend a little worrying? More than a few Chinese also believe so.
Still, maybe we are wrong and in a few weeks our face will be red, as again, Double Eleven sales figures go through the roof. You can catch the video here; How Chinese Consumers Shop Online – 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. Anyway, love to get your view, on these massive E-com promotions and AI generally. Drop us a line or make a comment below, and no, we don’t save your email address or turn you into a product. If you read about us you will see we don’t need to. Not our style.
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