China’s Online Retail Sales 💰 Explained

The 5 Big Online Sales in China💰 Singles Day, 618, and More

China’s online retail sales are notoriously BIG when it comes to numbers but just how many are there and what sorts of numbers do they throw out?

Online sales in China are in fact the biggest in the world, and the amount they make every year is a number I honestly can’t really comprehend.

Even though it may seem like there’s a sale per day for all 365 days of the year, China’s online retail sales can be broken down to about five major ones per year.

While there may be other “reasons” behind each sale, at the end of the day, most (but not all) of these sales were fabricated by e-commerce giants to get people to spend more money so they can earn more money.

This type of thing is pretty much prevalent across all countries, and China is no different.

(Most of these massive online retail sales are dubbed “holidays” as to how Black Friday is a holiday, but it feels a bit weird to call it that.)

China’s Online Retail Sales – Singles Day

China’s Online Retail Sales – 618

China’s Online Retail Sales – Double 12

China’s Online Retail Sales – 818

China’s Online Retail Sales – Back to School Sales

China’s Online Retail Sales – FAQs

China’s Online Retail Sales – Singles Day (双十一)

Hands down, Singles Day is the largest sale in not only China but also the world.

In Chinese, Singles Day is called “双11”.

This translates literally into “Double Eleven”. However, the day itself tries to get people who are, well, single to buy stuff.

Singles look lonely, apparently, so “Singles Day” is aptly named and dated on November 11th, 11.11.

Singles Day was started by Taobao (淘宝) and Tmall (天猫), subsidiaries of Alibaba (阿里巴巴), in 2009 as a small event that quickly gained unexpected traction.

Since then, it’s also expanded beyond just Taobao into other major e-commerce companies, namely (Jingdong, 京东).

In 2019, Singles Day generated over 10 billion RMB in 1 minute, 36 seconds.

This is approximately 145,137,900 USD (109,977,355 Pounds) in about a minute and a half. Aka a lot.

From 0.05 billion RMB earned in 2009 to 268.4 billion RMB in 2019, Alibaba sales on Singles Day increased by 536,700 percent in 10 years.

China’s Online Retail Sales – 618 (京东618)

618 is primarily a (Jingdong, 京东) event held on June 18.

The company was founded in June — the entire month of June has promotional sales and events — on the eighteen, hence the date.

Days leading up to June 18 especially have more sales culminating into the final day.

From June 1, 2020 to June 18, 2020, saw 269.2 billion RMB in sales. This is approximately 39,070,550,000 USD (29,598,871,000 Pounds) in 18 days.

That number, frankly, is so big I can’t really comprehend it.

The numbers 6, 1, and 8 are all lucky numbers in China. (4, for instance, would not be as the pronunciation of 四 (sì) is very similar to 死 (sǐ), which means death.)

Speaking of big numbers…

China’s Online Retail Sales – Double 12 (双十二)

Unlike the previous two events, Taobao and both participate in Double 12, as well as Suning (苏宁易购).

It was started by Alibaba (the parent company of Taobao) to focus on Taobao’s marketplace. While Single’s Day focuses on big retailers such as Nike, Double 12 focuses on smaller businesses.

Double 12 takes place on December 12th, hence 12.12.

Sales from Double 12 encompass most things, from food to clothing to even real estate.

How that works, I don’t know, but it’s definitely a very popular event.

During this time, Alipay also provided various discounts in offline, in-person sales.

Speaking of which…

China’s Online Retail Sales – 818

818 takes place on August 18th, started by

There is less to be said about this one because it’s basically a smaller version of China’s online retail sales like Singles Day and 618.

One thing to note, however, is that 818 (bāyāobā) sounds like “发一发” (fā yī fā), which essentially means “发财” (get rich).

China’s Online Retail Sales – Back to School Sales

This one’s probably the most straightforward sale of them all, and also the most practical.

It takes places around the time students go back to school in August and September, and most sales are for products students need such as stationary, clothing, and electronics.

That being said, many other non-student related things are also on sale.

As this sale is focused around an already existing event, it’s less restricted by company like how 京东618 is.

Online Sales in China — FAQs

What is Singles Day?

Singles Day is China’s largest sale held annually on November 11th. It was started by Taobao in order to get single people to spend more, earning tens of billions of dollars per year.

Pretty much anything you can think of may be on sale.

What is the best website to buy from China?

Depends on you. One thing I noticed is that people who only use Alipay use Taobao more, and people who only use WeChat Pay use more.

Another difference between the two companies is that Taobao is known for having merchandise from smaller businesses that may be more affordable than its counterpart.

What is the largest online shopping company of China?

Alibaba, the parent company of Taobao and Tmall, is likely the largest online shopping company of China.

Its biggest competitor is, who also recently bought out Yihaodian (a competitor of

How can I buy from China online?

There are a number of ways you can buy from China online.

It’s not all that different from ordering on Amazon, only that it’s mainly in Chinese. On Taobao, for instance, people usually pay by Alipay or use a bankcard as Alipay and WeChat Pay are competitors. We have a walk-through on shopping on Taobao here.

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  1. Chris

    what’s the next sale coming up?

    1. Angela

      Hi Chris,

      Singles’ Day (Nov 11) just passed, so the next major sale coming up is Double 12 on December 12th 🙂