Internationally on the 14th of February every year, it is known as Valentine’s day to many. It is the day to celebrate couples being together. However for those who are single, it may be saddening as singles do not have any partner to celebrate with.
The history is that in the 90s, students at Nanjing University in China started celebrating 11th November as the single peoples’ version of Valentine’s day. The date Nov 11th was chosen as figuratively, the 4 ones characters signified as 2 single person together. After all, one is the loneliest number – and the Chinese name Gu?nggùn Jié (???) literally means “bare sticks day.”
The day was then commercialized by Chinese eCommerce company, Alibaba, who launched the first Double 11 sale in 2009. The term was trademarked, and only Alibaba can use the official “Double 11” name. In order not to infringe on the copyright, other companies which 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 US$3 billion US and sales between Thanksgiving until Cyber Monday accounted for only $12.8 billion in 2016.
Singles’ Day had been under the radar for most of the world, but in 2016, Chinese shoppers spent an incredible US$17.8 billion in 24 hours on the Alibaba online platform. In 2017, It was reported by Alibaba that sales from Singles’ Day amounted to $25.3 billion, a 40 percent jump from last year’s figures. The growth is fuelled by its growing international popularity. Similar to the US version of the shopping holidays, Alibaba offered discounts on a variety of goods, from household items to electronic gadgets to clothing to beauty supplies.
Over the years, the holiday’s cultural meaning has evolved for some into an opportunity to say goodbye to the single life. Many youngsters celebrate Singles’ Day by going on blind dates or attempt to woo a partner by buying the perfect gift. There are ironically more weddings held on 11/11 than 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 used big data to hone their targets. All in all, Singles’ Day now become a day when everyone, regardless of their relationship status, buys gifts for themselves.