Black Friday is often scoffed at across the globe, viewed as a frenzied shopping event for Americans still digesting their Thanksgiving turkey and foolishly fighting over children’s toys. And while some of the world’s largest retailers have tried to push Black Friday fever on international consumers, the plan doesn’t appear to be working.
Amazon and Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, for example, both pushed for online shoppers in China to open their wallets for cross-border sales. Alibaba teamed up with US-retailers including Macy’s, Sacks Fifth Avenue, Bloomigndale’s and Neiman Marcus with a Black Friday promotion, and both launched revamped websites for their Black Friday events within China.
Alibaba’s mobile payment unit Alipay even launched a special service for Black Friday so shoppers could pay with Renminbi more easily.
But the efforts fell flat. Reports emerged following last Friday’s retail extravaganza revealing not-so-extravagant results, likely because of Black Friday’s close proximity to Singles’ Day – China’s anti-Valentine’s day e-commerce event – celebrated on November 11.
Alibaba saw more than $9 billion in sales on this year’s Singles’ Day alone, up from last year’s $5.8 billion figure.
That’s a far cry from the $3.25 million in sales seen across the board last Friday in China. Data reported by Metao.com revealed a definite uptick in Black Friday shopping in China. But with wallets still thin from Singles’ Day, combined with English-only product descriptions, Black Friday showed a lackluster performance in China. The US’s most notorious shopping event, it seems, has a long way to go before catching on abroad.