Saturday 9 November 2019
A screen shows total sales at 213.5 billion yuan (30.7 billion USD) after the end of last year’s 11.11 shopping event in Shanghai. Photo: AFP

11.11 is almost here. And it’s no surprise to see some of the biggest e-commerce platforms putting on a show (literally), in a bid to lure vulnerable customers. But before we dive into the hits of this year’s 11.11 sale, let’s first answer the biggest question.

What’s the story behind 11.11?

The region’s biggest online shopping extravaganza did not begin as a shopping event. Instead, it all started out as a day to celebrate singlehood, thanks to a group of male students at China’s Nanjing University in 1993.

The reason why they chose 11 November was because the date 11.11 represents four singles. Hence, bringing about the term single’s day. Soon enough, the celebration was caught on by the general public and it’s now the biggest reason to splurge, come the end of the year.

What are the e-commerce brands up to?

Now that the history is established, let’s take a look at what some of the top e-commerce platforms are planning to do, during this year’s 11.11.

Shopee has launched the #ShopeeMAKNA charity event to help cancer patients. The e-commerce platform allows shoppers to donate online to the National Cancer Foundation via the ShopeeMakna official store.

Other initiatives include the chance to win a trip to Italy to catch football’s most iconic no 7, Cristiano Ronaldo – which is the very least the brand can do after bombarding the public with ads featuring the Portuguese in a bright orange top (you bet it’s playing in your head right now).

Next, Lazada is joining in the fun with its star-studded Lazada 11.11 Super Show. Set to be staged in Kuala Lumpur’s Axiata Arena, the live event is expected to gather three million viewers. The show also features the K-pop girl group, APINK, alongside other local artists.

Not to be outdone by its competitors, e-commerce giant Alibaba threw down the gauntlet with its 11.11 Countdown Gala. The star-studded event is fittingly headlined by Taylor Swift. Considering how the singer never seems to stay away from controversy following her love life, she surely is the ultimate star for this year’s single’s day shopping event.

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