Double 11: Expectations vs Reality

November 11 is almost here! I already talked a bit last year about this day, which became a major shopping festivity in recent years. It started as a celebration for single people, because of the amount of “ones” contained in the date (11/11), but of course it had to be transformed into something that would give benefits to businesses.

Last year, all previous records were surpassed and Alibaba (probably the biggest internet company in China, if not the world), owner of websites like Taobao and Tmall, sold 57,000 million RMB in a day. That is more than 9,000 million USD of sales in a single day. During the first 38 minutes of November 11, 2014, ten thousand million RMB worth of products were sold. It is absolutely crazy.

So what happens on November 11 or “Double 11”, as it is known? Basically that all the internet retail stores offer big discounts, usually 50% off or more. Customers start preparing days in advance, looking at the products and putting the ones they want inside their shopping carts. Then, when the clock strikes 00:00, everybody presses the Purchase button. If you are too slow you might end up with a “no stock available” message!

Many people say that the discounts you can get during “Double 11” are not really that huge; that many vendors raise the prices during the previous weeks and then reduce them during the festivity so they are back to normal or maybe slightly cheaper. There is also the problem that courier services find themselves with billions of packages to process, so deliveries are slower than usual (normal delivery time is 2-3 days, it can be around a week after the November 11 madness). These doubts and problems don’t discourage buyers! If there is a country that loves online shopping, that is China.

There is another problem, though. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, what you end up buying might not be exactly what you were expecting. So, after November 11, Chinese forums are flooded with hilarious pictures of expectations vs reality. Many of them are related to clothes. I have some priceless pictures that I found last year in a Chinese forum and could well be in a second part of my Chinese fashion epic fails post.

On the left, the picture that you could see on the online shop. On the right, the picture that the receiver took after trying their garment on.


Case 1: The girl who thought she would totally look like a trendy French girl and ended up being confused for a meat or fish seller in a wet market.


Case 2: The woman who didn’t really know what she was buying (how is it possible that a skirt fits on her neck? That proves the ridiculously small sizes of Chinese clothes!).


Case 3: The girl who wanted to follow the latest fashion (these furry white vests were in last year) and ended up looking like a shepherdess.


Case 4: I don’t know what this person was thinking when she pressed the purchase button. In what world is it a good idea to buy a pink sheep jacket?


Case 5: My favourite. This girl thought she was buying a pair of super sexy trousers, but she discovered (too late) that if she sat with them on, she would be basically naked!


Do you like buying clothes online? If you are in China, will you buy anything on November 11? I think I might pass! I don’t really need anything right now…