CHICAGO — DePaul
University faculty experts are available to provide insight and commentary on approaching
consumer holidays: Singles’ Day in China and Black Friday and Cyber Monday in
the United States. Experts can discuss consumer behavior, business marketing
plans and procrastination on getting started with holiday shopping.
Experts can provide
information on Singles’ Day, the Chinese holiday celebrated on Nov. 11 because
the date contains four ones (11-11). Singles’ Day serves as an occasion for
single friends to party with each other. It is being billed as the largest
online shopping day in the world, beating out both Cyber Monday and Black
Friday. This growth was largely spurred by e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, which
hosts annual Singles’ Day sales. Although Chinese in origin, the holiday is
starting to expand internationally, which could have implications for the
experts can address such questions as: Why do consumers act the way they do on
Black Friday? Will consumers be spending less money on Cyber Monday because of
security breaches? What new marketing or advertising techniques are being
incorporated during the month of November?
experts on consumer holidays include:
Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Jin is director
of the Chinese Studies Program and can talk about the cultural aspects of
Singles’ Day and why the holiday is so popular in China.
“There are two main reasons why Singles’ Day
is so popular. The first is the social condition where more Gen-Y Chinese
remain single due to work-related stress and the increasing male-female
disparity in Chinese society,” said Jin. She explained that data shows that
there will be 30 million more adult men than women in 2020 in China. “People
also tend to end being bachelors on this day. Thus this day is celebrated by
both people who are single and those who want to find their other half,” she
“The second reason is the commercial push.
Online retailers have aggressively promoted Singles’ Day as a new holiday for
shopping. In 2009, the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba marketed Nov. 11 as
Singles’ Day and promoted various discounts to stimulate sales. Since then, it
has become more popular each year. Alibaba says they are bringing this holiday
to Hong Kong and Taiwan in 2016 and have plans to expand to other countries in
the near future,” she said.
“The holiday’s origins come from the number
‘one,’ which in Chinese connotes to be single instead of a couple which is
‘two.’ There is a humorous rumor that students at Nanjing University started
this holiday in 1993 as a counter-Valentine’s Day so they could buy presents
for themselves,” said Jin.
“Marriage and family are celebrated in
traditional Chinese culture. Adult people who are not married are traditionally
perceived as non-grownup or even immature in terms of personality. One reason
the Singles’ Day was initially launched was to raise awareness and gain social
respect for single people,” said Jin. “The popularity of the Singles’ Day not
only shows the demographic change in modern Chinese society but also the social
acceptance for being adult and single. It is the progressive side of
contemporary Chinese society.” Jin can be
reached at email@example.com or 773-325-1882.
Patrick J. Murphy, Professor, Driehaus College of Business. Murphy,
who specializes in entrepreneurship and speaks Mandarin Chinese, can comment on
the Chinese phenomenon known as Singles’ Day and how entrepreneurial businesses
keep pace with and drive social trends in the United States or in China. Murphy
was also a foreign student in Beijing decades ago. Today, he travels there
frequently and leads DePaul's internationalization strategy in China.
Day is something of a Hallmark holiday, like the ones we have in the U.S. But
it has evolved into a very popular shopping day, on par with our Black Friday.
It has also some interesting cultural aspects. For example, the date Nov. 11
has four ones. We may not think too much about that, but numbers often have
more deeply meaningful aspects through a Chinese cultural lens. The term used
to describe being single, in Chinese, literally means ‘single stick’ (光棍儿),”
said Murphy. “To an acculturated Chinese mind, the numeral ‘one’ can resemble a
stick. The date Nov. 11 can quite meaningfully be thought of as Singles’ Day (光棍节).
In 2011, this day took on an intense celebratory nature because that date has
six ones in it and only comes once in a typical lifetime. Singles’ Day was
given a special name that year (神棍节), which translates into
something like Holy Singles’ Day."
elsewhere in the world, entrepreneurially-minded businesses recognize
opportunities in these kinds of social trends, and they respond to them in
strategic ways that not only align with the native culture but amplify the
meaning of the trend,” said Murphy.
entrepreneurial perspective, Singles’ Day in China exemplifies the overlap that
exists between the sociocultural and business domains. Compared to the
relatively individualistic U.S. culture, being single or alone in the more
collectivist Chinese culture can have a different kind of meaning. It is
regarded a bit less positively in general. On Singles’ Day, businesses respond
appropriately. Whereas couples going out for a nice dinner on the town may
become objects of envy to their single counterparts, businesses respond to this
social inefficiency with a special kind of ‘love’ for those who are single.
Originally, that love came in the form of discounts and excellent deals just
for singles on desirable products. Today, the holiday has evolved into a
veritable industry, and now many couples as well as singles all go shopping for
deals,” he noted. Murphy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Krimstein, Professional Lecturer, College of Communication. Krimstein is an
award-winning creative director and marketing strategist with extensive
experience in national and global brands, including American Express,
Coca-Cola, Lands' End and General Motors. He is also a professional lecturer in
advertising creativity and marketing strategy at DePaul.
Amazon-challenged ‘brick and mortar’ retailers face the critical weeks between
Thanksgiving and the holidays, Black Friday has become the official ‘frenzy
kick off,’ and, starting last year, many stores are cutting into Turkey-time,
opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving day itself,” said Krimstein. “Some
important stores have held the line on recent forays into Thanksgiving, but
other prominent retailers like K-Mart, Kohl's and Macy's are risking brand love
to savings lust by opening on Thanksgiving,” he said.
REI is continuing to buck the entire trend by not only closing on Thanksgiving,
but paying its over 12,000 employees to take the day off on Black Friday and go
out to hike and enjoy nature. The PR goodwill generated by this move appears to
be more than making up for the lost volume,” said Krimstein. “Online sales just
keep pumping along, turkey or no, and look to continue to grow as consumers get
more and more comfortable and Amazon and others continue to extend their brand
messages and offerings. How will retailers entice traffic weary, tryptophan
bloated consumers to brave the malls? Has ‘time’ become an even more valuable
gift than something in a box with a shiny ribbon?” Krimstein can be reached at email@example.com.
Mourey, Assistant Professor, Driehaus College of Business. Mourey is a
consumer scientist who can discuss how holiday shopping experiences often lead
consumers to engage in irrational behavior. He can talk about how some
companies are avoiding the holiday to focus on their employees’ happiness.
actually seeing more stores this year foregoing the Black Friday trend, which,
in and of itself, is generating media attention for them,” said Mourey. “It
seems as though companies are drawing the line in the sand when it comes to
respecting the holiday and family time versus rampant consumerism. We can
probably expect this back and forth oscillation to continue well into the
like Black Friday often result in 'misattribution of arousal,' in which the
hype and excitement of an experience influences shopping decisions, often
resulting in poor choices and lowered satisfaction,” said Mourey. “Although
companies and consumers ‘complain’ about store hours extending into the
Thanksgiving holiday, the crowds will still show up,” he said. “It's a blend of
competitiveness, social influence and entertainment — when else do people shop
like they're running from bulls in Pamplona?" Mourey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-362-7663.
Furst, Professor, College of Computing and Digital Media. Furst, an expert
in computer security, is director of the DePaul Information Assurance Center.
He teaches courses in information security, secure electronic commerce, and
networking and security.
online is risky, but so is life. Every moment of every day, we are called on to
balance risk and reward — unfortunately we typically have flawed or incomplete
information and have to make an educated guess,” said Furst. “It is also a very
individual decision. For me the rewards of shopping online outweigh the risks,
and I will continue to shop online. We can’t do much more to protect ourselves
than the credit card industry and our legal system have already done,” he said.
card industry has good fraud detection and prevention mechanisms in place and
there are laws in place to protect consumers,” he added. Furst can be reached
at email@example.com or
Ferrari, Professor, College of Science and Health. Ferrari, a psychologist
and an expert in chronic procrastination, can speak about the mental effects of
waiting to do holiday shopping until the last minute.
should be starting their shopping much earlier than Black Friday to avoid the
stress of buying around Thanksgiving,” said Ferrari. “There is a myth that you
get the best deals on Black Friday, but the deals get better as you get closer
to Christmas. Retailers are encouraging us to shop later; they are rewarding us
when we procrastinate,” he said.
to generate more excuses when they are under a deadline, such as getting all
Christmas shopping done before Dec. 25. Procrastinators are great excuse makers
who don’t assume responsibility for their behaviors. It is never their fault it
is always somebody else,” he said. Ferrari can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-325-4244.