Business

Ongoing trade war threatens American brands sold on China's 'Singles Day'

Bloomberg

U.S. brands may see a broad boycott at the world’s biggest shopping event this year as tensions between the U.S. and China over everything from tariffs to technological dominance simmer.

More than three-quarters of Chinese consumers surveyed said they will reconsider buying from American companies during the “Singles Day” shopping event on Nov. 11, according to a report released last week by consulting firm AlixPartners LLC. Of those, more than half cited allegiance to their nation as the reason for doing so.

“U.S. brands can expect some disruption because of the consequences of the U.S.-China trade war on consumer sentiment,” the report said.

Chinese consumers are spurring a wave of nationalistic spending as they become more sensitive to any perceived slight on their culture or sovereignty amid a multiyear trade conflict between the U.S. and China.

As Western firms increasingly look to China for future growth given the size of the market, shoppers have held them up to scrutiny, calling out companies from Coach to Calvin Klein for running afoul of Beijing’s political sensitivities.

Launched a decade ago by e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. as a celebration by consumers for being single — a play off Valentine’s Day — the Nov. 11 event has become bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

On last year’s “Singles Day,” more than $30 billion worth of goods were sold over 24 hours.

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