Singles Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated in China on November 11 every year. Those who do not have any romantic partner gift themselves to commemorate this occasion. It is also the world’s biggest online shopping day in terms of spending. In China, it is even bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Many retailers put up exciting Singles Day sales so singles can also have an exclusive event in their honor just like couples and families celebrate their milestones.
Singles Day Sales Origin and Popularity
There are many theories related to the history of this occasion. According to the most popular one, the idea originated in 1993 as a kind of anti-valentine day. 4 male students from a Chinese university decided to celebrate their singlehood, hence the date, 11.11 (the 4 ones). The number ‘One’ has a significant sentimental value in Chinese culture. Besides being a symbol of victory, it also represents a solo person or a single (in terms of relationship). The boys popularized it as ‘Bachelors Day’ and the e-commerce giant Alibaba capitalized it to draw more customers and boost sales.
Alibaba started by offering dramatic discounts on its platform on 11.11.2019 that lasted for 24 hours. Since then it became annual and many other retailers followed suit. Recently, the shopping event has been gaining popularity outside of China as well. More than 250,000 brands offered Singles Day sales in 2020. The top country in terms of gross merchandise value last year was the US which was even selling things to China.
What Kind of Things Go on Sale?
Sellers try to expand their customer base rather than just limiting themselves to making profits. With the help of platforms like Alibaba and JD.com, many other retailers have been focusing on the lower-income Chinese cities where citizens are price-sensitive. Singles Day sales allow these people to get stuff for a bit lower price than usual. On the other hand, they discount luxury items to please the higher class of citizens as well.
After recognizing the buying power during this shopping day, many popular brands like Nike, Addidas, Estee Lauder, Adobe, and Apple have also started to offer their sales. An event that largely focused on fashion in its early years, has grown to encompass almost everything. Customers can now also find electronics, smartphones, furniture, cosmetics, food, tools, and many self-care items at discounted prices.
Last year, Alibaba registered more than 74 billion USD worth of sales through its online platforms. While, Black Friday generated 9 billion USD, Cyber Monday approximately 11 billion USD, and Prime Day 5.2 billion USD. Even the sum of all these sales at popular Western events couldn’t match the numbers of Singles Day sales.
What to Expect from Singles Day 2021?
This year’s Singles Day sales are going to be even bigger as reportedly more than 290,000 retailers will be participating. Again most of the items will be based on self-love to align with the message of the day. These include sexy clothes, beauty products, and wellness essentials that allow as much self-indulgence as possible. Buyers can find discounts up to 70%, more than double than those of Black Friday sales.
Alibaba is also marred with sexual assault allegations against a (now fired) manager. So critics expect it to do more in terms of corporate responsibility. Marketing experts have suggested that the platform can support women-related causes through their promotional activities.
Singles Day 2021 will try to encourage green lifestyle and charitable contributions. Alibaba has created a dedicated vertical market to better focus on a specific industry to fully meet the demands of its consumers. For that, it will showcase eco-friendly and energy-efficient products. It’s logistics partner has already introduced package recycling in 20 cities to reduce Singles Day footprint. Alibaba’s Chief Marketing Officer Chris Tung hopes that with the help of 11.11 concept, the consumer mindset will eventually shift towards sustainable consumption.