You spend lots of time and money shopping online during the past year and somehow you lost track of both.
That’s why when you received you annual statement from Alipay, the Chinese third-party online payment platform, you probably got anasty surprise.
The annual statement, which shows consumers’ personal spending and online payment patterns, caused a stir when it was released by Alipay on Jan 15. Many micro-bloggers shared how much money they spend shopping online, mostly on Taobao, and how they felt after discovering the extent of their consumption. As you may have guessed, most of them were shocked by their statement.
Chen Si, 23, a senior in Literature of Film and TV at Shandong University of Arts, put a stamp “Can’t bear to look at it” on her statement.
“Many micro-bloggers said they would rather ‘cut their hands off’ after seeing how every cent of their money was spent online shopping last year. I’m one of them,” Chen said.
Last year, Chen spent about 10,000 yuan on Taobao — more than 60 percent of online shoppers in the city of Jinan and more than half of her living expenses. Chen, who didn’t buy any expensive items online, had no idea where her money went before seeing the statement, which labeled her as “an upstart of online shopping”.
“My sttitude to consumption was summarized as ‘economical’, ‘practical’ and ‘home-loving’,” Chen said. “It makes sense because I bought lots of things on discount days such as Nov 11 and Dec 12, and I purchased many home products.”
While many like Chen regret their excessive spending, some are making a big deal out of how little they spent. Zhu Siwei, 25, an accountant from Jinhua, Zhejiang province, spent a total of 489 yuan last year, according to her Alipay statement. Since she posted her consumption status on Sina Weibo she’s been asked by many fellow micro-bloggers how to save money.
“If you subtract the 38.7 yuan transfer fee, my actual expenditure in 2012 was 450.3 yuan,” Zhu said. “I usually get tied up with work and don’t have that much time for online shopping. I spend most of my money on my personal interests, such as reading books and listening to CDs.”
Whether the numbers are surprisingly high or low, Alipay’s annual statement is more than just analysis of users’ different consumption patterns.
As Ma Yun, the CEO of Alibaba.com, an online shopping website, once said: “E-commerce is not a business mode or technology, but a way of life.”
An annual statement reflects a person’s consumption habits and lifestyle. But it’s also a warning that, while online shopping provides us with convenience and a refreshing way of living, we should be cautious about our consumption, especially when it comes to online shopping where money is just a number.