How did the world’s biggest shopping day, also known as Singles Day, start?
Internationally, February 14 of each year is known by many as Valentine’s Day. It is the day to celebrate that couples are together. However, for those who are single, it can be sad as singles have no partner to celebrate with.
The story is that in the 90s, students at Nanjing University in China began celebrating November 11 as the singles version of Valentine’s Day. The date of November 11 was chosen figuratively, the 4 characters meant as 2 single people together. After all, one is the loneliest number, and the Chinese name Gu? Nggùn Jié (???) literally means “day of naked sticks”.
The day was later marketed by the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, which launched the first sale of Double 11 in 2009. The term was registered and only Alibaba can use the official name “Double 11”. To avoid copyright infringement, other companies that follow suit use 11/11 or Singles Day.
Singles Day is the biggest sale in the world! It is much bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Black Friday in the US saw online sales hit a record of just over $ 3 billion and sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday accounted for just $ 12.8 billion. in 2016.
Singles Day had gone unnoticed in most parts of the world, but in 2016, Chinese shoppers spent a whopping $ 17.8 billion in 24 hours on Alibaba’s online platform. In 2017, Alibaba reported that Singles’ Day sales amounted to $ 25.3 billion, a 40 percent increase from last year’s figures. The growth is driven by its growing international popularity. Similar to the American version of the shopping holiday, Alibaba offered discounts on a variety of products, from household items to electronics, clothing and beauty products.
Over the years, the cultural significance of the holiday has become for some an opportunity to say goodbye to the single life. Many young people celebrate Singles’ Day by going on blind dates or trying to woo a couple by buying the perfect gift. Ironically, more weddings take place on 11/11 than on other days of the year.
Some of the deals were also matched by offline Brick & Mortar stores, and in the near future, sales are expected to be more personalized as brands use big data to hone their goals. All in all, Singles’ Day now becomes a day when everyone, from their marital status, buys gifts for themselves.