If you think Black Friday is a thing, China's Singles' Day would like to have a word or two. In 2017, Chinese shoppers spent more than $44 billion online alone, including $25.4 billion at Alibaba ($NYSE:BABA) and $19 billion at JD.com. Compared to Amazon's take on Black Friday, which in the past couple years has been around $11 billion, Singles' Day is, by a long shot, the largest shopping day in the world.
While Singles' Day is meant to be a period in which young Chinese people look for a life partner, most are instead taking to the internet to navigate a complex network e-commerce deals, coupons, bargains, and affiliate setups that net them, in the end, a small discount.
The process is so complex that we asked our resident expert to explain, via flowchart, how Singles' Day works. The results are nothing less than mind-numbing, confusing, and, well, amazing. Here it is in all its glory.
In the example above, a myriad of steps ends up saving just over 51 Chinese Yuan, or about $7 USD. Of course, that also comes with random giveaways. But in order to get there, our researcher had to work her way through no fewer than 15 (fifteen!) steps, including some savvy deal combinations, limited time windows, previous purchases, pre-order windows, and product category matching.
But, hey, $7.