Singles day a great opportunity for aussie retailers

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IT is one of the biggest money spinners in China and now Australian retailers are being urged to get involved.

Singles Day on November 11 was created by online retailer Alibaba in the 1990s, to encourage unpartnered people to buy themselves a gift on what is otherwise known as anti-Valentines Day.

It has rapidly become the biggest online shopping day in the world, with Alibaba registering a mind-boggling $11.4 billion worth of sales last year in the space of just 24 hours.

Chinese cultural expert CT Johnson said there was no historical significance or cultural tradition to it, but there was no mistaking the success of Singles Day.

Its just something that Alibaba made up to sell more stuff, said Mr Johnson.

Last year, they did more than $1 billion in transaction in the first eight minutes. They made a whole televised event of it, with Daniel Craig the co-host alongside (Alibaba owner) Jack Ma.

He said there was some connection to Chinas bachelor crisis with Singles Day primarily focused on romance but with a Chinese twist.

Last year, two of the most popular gift items were tins of milk powder and nappies, Mr Johnson said.

Chinese women are increasingly independent and choosy when it comes to marriage. Milk powder and nappies show that the man is attentive to the challenges of child rearing, and intends to be helpful and supportive.

Australian retailers hoping to cash in on Singles Day should take advantage of the three Ss signs, sales and social media, Mr Johnson said.

They should put up a sign in Chinese that says Happy Singles Day, put something prominently on sale and make sure their Chinese friends and employees are posting it on WeChat, he said.

Figures released yesterday show Chinese visitors down under continue to grow, with almost 82,000 arriving in September, up seven per cent on the same time last year.

In the 12 months to September, 1.17 million Chinese people travelled to Australia up from 969.100 in the previous corresponding period.

As well as spending more time down under than most other nationalities, Chinese visitors are easily the biggest spenders parting with $8.9 billion in the year to July.