How Tmall is Changing the Calendar in China


Tmall, China’ s biggest B2C site, is changing the calendar in China, but introducing a series of new holidays for their millions of users.  Days that did not exist a just few years ago, and now some of the most anticipated in local diaries.

The influence of digital behaviours, such as online shopping, have arguably created profound of culture in China. One obvious example is Singles’ Day – a calendar event that is hotly anticipated by Chinese consumers, and fretted about by brands in China.   Not being part of this ‘new culture’ would be the equivalent of falling silent during Chinese New Year.

To help put the ‘Tmall Effect” in context, we have collected some of the new, or reinvented, holidays that Tmall has added to the Chinese calendar schedule.

The Calendar According to Tmall – New and Reinvented Holidays

Here are four “Tmall Days” that are now locked into Chinese consumers’ calendars

“Big Heat Day” – Tmall provides a summer break for Tmallers 

Falling last year on July 22nd is Big Heat Day, which is calculated according to the Lunar calendar to be the ‘height of summer’ – and in many Chinese cities, that is really hot, often over 40 degrees.  To celebrate, or commiserate, the stifling heat, Tmall celebrates the tradition of people laying on the floor and eating watermelon to stay cool.  The e-commerce store uses this day, to discuss the sentimentality of this day – where people often remember who they escaped the heat with – their friends, family, loved ones and pets.   This year Tmall designed special GIFs to allow Tmaller to rekindle memories of the years’ hottest day.

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Tmall’s Big Heat Day

“Global Reading Day” – Tmall celebrates the joy of reading

On April 23rd, Tmall posts quotes from famous writers and thinkers on the site.  This has included Albert Einstein, Sun Yat-sen and French writer Voltaire.  Using the quotes as inspiration, Tmall (somewhat counter-intuitively) tells Tmaller to “turn off their phones” and give some time developing reading as a healthy brain exercise.

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Tmall’s Global Reading Day

“Little Singles’ Day” – Tmall makes singles feel better through seafood 

The mini-version of Singles Day –  know in Chinese as the ‘double 1″ as it falls on the 1st of January – is where Tmall deliveries seafood directly to Singles.   A major feat in logistics, Tmall uses the day to 1) make singles feel better, but ordering something special for themselves; but also 2) providing a major proof-point of their logistic capabilities.

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Tmall’s mini Singles’ Day

“Singles’ Day” – Tmall a day that just gets bigger, constantly breaking records 

A little like an online version of “Black Friday”, Tmall’s biggest contribution to the calendar is Singles’ Day.   It is simply manic, and Tmall drives this mania, by telling Tmallers  they are “constantly creating new records” through their participation and purchases.  This to promote their day, Tmall launches different forms of ‘encouragement’ for local shoppers, including “break the record”, “feast on the world’s food”, “that Tmall has products for even the most bizarre situations, including taking the ‘wrong’ partner to meet your parents, or a blind date”, and hilariously “showing the three steps of Tmalling – shoot, deliver and show-off”.   See below, the mania is evident!

How Tmall is changing the calendar in China 9

Creating a new Guinness world record

How Tmall is changing the calendar in China 12

Feasting on the world’s food

How Tmall is changing the calendar in China 15

What to do if your parents don’t like your date

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Solutions for a blind date


About Author

Jerry Clode

Jerry Clode is Head of Digital & Social Insight at Resonance. He leads Resonance SMART, providing leading-edge research, strategy and naming for brands in China using bespoke methodologies. Jerry also produces Resonance's popular China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly publication covering modern marketing methods of the world's top brands.

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