Alibaba’s ‘Double 12’ e-commerce event may seem like less of a deal compared to the massive shopping and specials spree that is Singles Day (November 11) in China. But Taobao is upping the ante for its December event with delivery times as low as two hours in select cities, as well as sizable discounts, Tencent reports.
This year’s event kicks off on December 1 and lasts through December 12. The high-speed delivery service will be available in eight cities: Shanghai, Chengdu, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Xi’an, Fuzhou, Xiamen, and Shenzhen.
From 12am-1am on December 12, shoppers can snag limited-time discounts of as high as 70% on certain goods. In addition, Taobao will hold its first Double 12-themed variety show to spice things up this year.
Previously, Alibaba’s gaudy Singles Day galas have attracted big stars, with both Jay Chou and Mariah Carey gracing this year’s event.
Despite breaking sales records once again, however, this year’s November extravaganza saw a singularly slow growth rate of 27%, the lowest in its decade-long history.
Michael Norris, research manager at consulting firm Resonance, previously told TechNode that the slowdown is natural for such a long-running tradition. He also pointed out that city-dwellers in China’s coastal regions, who make up a major part of Singles Day’s target customers, are splurging less nowadays due to other economic pressures.
Some of those very areas (Shanghai, Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen) are being targeted with Taobao’s ‘two-hour delivery’ services this December, perhaps in an attempt to win back consumers’ renminbi.
Although the Singles Day and Double 12 shopping sprees began with Alibaba, other e-commerce platforms have since joined the autumnal race for consumer attention. Besides major rival JD.com, Tencent-backed Pinduoduo has emerged as another contender for ‘Double 11’ sales.
Combined with external factors like China’s slowing economic growth and a new e-commerce law that will ban monopoly-like practices, the landscape surrounding China’s biggest e-commerce bonanzas will doubtless continue shifting in coming years.