With ShoppingIL and Singles Day, Israelis prepare to buy online

ShoppingIL, Singles Day and Black Friday mean that Israelis do a lot of shopping in November.

Online shopping 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Online shopping 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

Israelis are gearing up for a month of heavy shopping, with the Jewish festival of Hanukkah following some of the world’s largest sales events.

Israelis are avid online shoppers, and November is one of the busiest shopping months. In November 2019, Israelis ordered an estimated 14.5 million packages.

On Tuesday, Google begins its annual 48-hour online Israeli shopping event, ShoppingIL, showcasing Israeli products to more than half a million expected visitors.

More than 300 local blue-and-white businesses are expected to participate and offer exclusive discounts during the online event from November 9-10, according to the Economy Ministry, which is a partner to the event.

The annual event is intended “to promote local producers, expose consumers to Israeli manufacturers who sell online and increase awareness of the importance of choosing locally-made products,” said Economy Minister Maj.-Gen. (res.) Orna Barbivay.

 Smartphone with Google and Amazon apps are seen placed on keyboard in this illustration picture taken on June 25, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION) Smartphone with Google and Amazon apps are seen placed on keyboard in this illustration picture taken on June 25, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION)

In 2020, about 275 businesses participated, displaying a “Made in Israel” mark. More than half a million Israeli consumers shopped in last year’s event, and more than 60% of participating business owners said that it made a significant contribution to their sites’ sales.

On November 11, the day after ShoppingIL ends, Chinese e-commerce giant AliExpress will hold its annual global shopping festival, which this year is themed “Maximum Deals, Maximum Fun.” The annual one-day sale, held on the unofficial Chinese holiday known as Singles Day, is the largest retail event in the world, with some $74 billion in revenues generated in 2020. In past years, Israelis have ordered as many as four million packages on AliExpress during Singles Day.

Then comes Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the sales associated with those traditional shopping days. Black Friday traditionally refers to the day after Thanksgiving, seen globally as the first day of the holiday shopping season, when retailers would offer specially reduced prices. (Many also believe that Black Friday is the day when retailers move into the black, reaching profitability for the year.)

Black Friday is often when stores offer their best deals of the year, and in some locations, it has become associated with violent brawls in stores between customers fighting over limited, deeply discounted items. However, in recent years, Israeli retailers have latched onto the term as a catch-all for their November sales.

Hanukkah begins the night of Sunday, November 28, just after Black Friday. While Israeli Jews tend to spend less on gifts during the eight-day festival than their American counterparts, consumption trends have been growing.

Last month, global e-commerce giant Amazon restored free shipping to Israel for orders above $49. Only certain items are eligible and they are clearly marked on the site. Amazon had previously offered free shipping to Israel in November 2019, but ended it abruptly in March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on global shipping channels.