While Black Friday sales in America have fallen 10% compared to last year, the shopping craze in China is on the rise. November 11th was Single’s Day in China, when sellers of hot items like electronics and mobile devices can make a whole month’s worth of sales within a single day. In the past, electronics companies like Xiaomi have marked their market ascension with their sales volume statistics on Single’s Day. However, there was also another rather unexpected item that proved to be in high demand on Single’s Day–sex dolls.

Lucrative market – Sex doll seller sells one girl per minute

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A quick search for “sex dolls” in one Chinese e-commerce platform yielded a result of about 62,000 products– all facsimiles of  young pretty females. The dolls are intricately designed, usually made of silicone, possessing the ideal female figure. Some came in sexy outfits, and others even sported a familiar celebrity’s face. Prices for these dolls varied greatly, ranging from possibly questionable models for 100 yuan (16 USD) to more premium models costing tens of thousands of yuan (1600 USD).

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Top of the line sex dolls for sale in China (~1300 RMB / 200 USD)

One reporter contacted a seller specializing on sex dolls online, who proudly stated that one of her dolls brought in more than 1000 orders on Single’s Day. The seller’s total Single’s Day sales surpassed more than 1500 units, with sales averaging at about one doll sold every minute.

The widespread growth of e-commerce in China has also given birth to another sex toy-related phenomenon- automated sex toy stores.  One e-shop owner stated that their unmanned store was doing quite well, and a turnover of around RMB5000 a month was common. As there was no manpower cost involved, the owner could also hold a day job, thus earning two incomes at the same time. The owner further added that investment was low, and with the exclusion of rent, the starting cost for the necessary equipment was only about 30 thousand yuan, which could be recovered within a year.

China’s gender imbalance – demographic catastrophe or entrepreneur’s fantasy?

Many factors have contributed to the downfall of traditional Chinese conservative values, which labels adult toys as social taboos, and brought about the current adult toy market in China. Chief among them being the massive gender imbalance and the prevalence of discrete online purchasing. Furthermore, adult websites (not just Google) are blocked in China, further compounding the need for sex toys and or dolls.

According to data from National Bureau of Statistics of China, there were 33 million more men than women in China in the end of 2014, and ratio of unmarried men to women born in the 80s was 136:100, the same ratio of those born in the 70s was 206:100, indicating a severe gender imbalance.

Data from a market research report in China in 2014 indicated that among the interviewees, more than 75% stated that they have used or intended to try adult toys, 43% liked buying them online, and 65% accepted the idea of receiving adult toys as gifts and 23% gave adult toys to others as presents.

More data from Taobao indicated that online purchase volume of such toys increased by 50% annually, and number of buyers in 2015 were estimated to be 30 million people, most of which were young males. 65% of them were between the age of 18 to 29, and 26% were between the age of 30 to 39.

More than silicone: Chinese man’s relationship with a sex doll goes viral

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As per its namesake, sex dolls are typically objects used for fulfilling sexual fantasies. However, to a netizen named Song Bo, who went by the alias of “Onodera Karen” on Weibo, this was not the case. The 3D game designer from Tianjin suffered mild depression when he was diagnosed with intracranial arachnoid cysts two years ago, until he bought a 1.45 meter sex doll online for 14 thousand yuan. He named her Xiao Die, literally meaning little butterfly, and treated it as a daughter since.

Song Bo brought “her” out for shopping, meals, movies, karaoke sessions, and even to amusement parks and the countryside, just like a real father would. He also uploaded “everyday life” photos of his daughter on Weibo every now and then, wearing different clothes and doing different poses, and the doll gradually gained a following on the said social media platform.

Other than taking her out, buying clothes for her and shooting photos of her, he had even hired a nail artist to do manicure for his daughter. When asked about her “maintenance cost”, he claimed to have never actually calculated, and stated, “I can’t even begin to count the money I’ve spent, but was it worth it? Hard to say, as this doll gave me a sense of belonging that no money can buy after all.”

Source : http://tech.163.com/15/1120/07/B8RMTJ3R000915BF.html

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