There can be hardly anyone left in the world that doesn’t know about Black Friday, but how many of us have even heard of Singles Day?
Black Friday is the day after the US day of Thanksgiving, which has now become one of the biggest shopping days of the year, not only in the US but across the western world.
But very similar to Black Friday, Singles Day falls on the 11th November and has grown to become a very popular 24-hour online shopping event. Annual sales on Singles Day surpass Black Friday; in fact, it’s bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, making it the world’s largest shopping day.
But how come so many of us don’t know about it? And are we missing out on the best day of the year to grab ourselves a bargain?
What is Singles Day?
Perfect for Solos without a partner, Singles Day is actually known as the anti-Valentines Day. It was originally dreamed up by a group of four Chinese students studying at Nanjing University and was founded in 1993 as an unofficial day to celebrate everything good about being single.
The four students reasoned that if romantic couples can celebrate Valentine’s Day, then why can’t singles have their own special day too! The team looked at ways to celebrate being single with ideas about activities and things to do to commemorate their status.
The reason why they chose the 11/11 (11th November) date was because of the numbers of ones it includes. The date is represented as 11/11, or four singles.
Although Singles Day had been slowly growing in popularity since 1993, it wasn’t until 2009 when the day truly gained momentum as a result of Chinese retail giant, Alibaba catching on to it. They chose to use 11/11 as a marketing tool to target single customers and promote 11/11 as a day for singles to buy something just for themselves. We like that idea, here at Solo Living!
Their marketing strategy has paid off ever since and in 2019, Alibaba sold £29.4bn worth of goods in 24 hours.
Double Eleven Day
The Chinese celebrate Double Eleven Day, or Singles Day, each year with Chinese e-commerce giants such as Alibaba and JD.com offering deep-discounts over a 24-hour period.
The Double Eleven event quickly caught on in China, which wasn’t a surprise as it is a country with a vast population of young, single, independent people. Singles Day quickly snowballed in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Many retailers organise fun and engaging events for people to take part in and celebrate Singles Day.
Those cities hosted many singles’ parties and themed events all carefully intertwined with major shopping fairs. The annual event quickly turned into a mega-shopping event to rival Black Friday in the US, and it all really kicked-off because of the first online sale in 2009 by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Ten years later in 2019 over 200,000 brands took part in the event, with 19,000 of them being well-known international brands such as Nike, Adidas, Apple, Estee Lauder, Olay, Lancôme, Dyson, L’Oreal, Siemens, and Philips.
In fact, 2019 saw the biggest Singles Day so far with singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performing at the event’s live-streamed opening gala in China. Previous years’ headliners have included Mariah Carey and Nicole Kidman. Many other prominent TV and cinema personalities were also in attendance last year, confirming that the awareness of Singles Day is swiftly growing outside of Asia.
With growing awareness outside of Asia, the event in Australia now comes in a close third after the US and Japan for scoring Singles Day sales bargains.
What deals can you get on Singles Day?
If previous years Singles Day sales are anything to go by, we can expect a lot of 11 per cent and 22 per cent off discounts, which plays off the 11/11 date theme for the event. For example, last year Net-A-Porter took 22 per cent off their entire range.
While there are now some very big retail brand names taking part in Singles Day, it is no surprise to learn that Alibaba’s -own brand, AliExpress, is one of the biggest discounters with up to 70 per cent off all categories.
No matter what discounts will be on offer this year, you going to need to act fast to snatch up a bargain before they sell out. If there is a particular retailer you like taking part, it would help to snag any bargains by making sure you have a user account set up with them beforehand.
This will help prevent another buyer from grabbing the last dress in your size because you were too busy setting up your account before you could place your order and securely checkout!
Singles Day in the UK
Just as Black Friday took a few years to catch on in the UK, Singles Day is finally filtering its way in the UK market with more retailers offering deep discounts for the event. In 2019 retail discounts for Singles Day grew by a whopping 86% in the UK, so 11/11 is definitely a date you should mark on your calendar if you want to grab yourself a bargain – just for yourself!
Can we predict if Singles Day will outperform Black Friday in the UK? Maybe. Just as Black Friday has caught on over the years, Singles Day is something that could take off here in the future, given 1 in 3 households are occupied by Solos.
Singles Day has grown to become a huge deal in China and other Asian countries. In fact, the Singles Day shopping event is to the Chinese what Black Friday is to Americans. So maybe 2020 could be the year it starts to take off in the UK too, especially with so many people now under lockdown and turning to shopping online for bargains.
Sales made in the UK on Singles Day in 2019 were forecast to reach £1.29bn, and currently, the English have the highest Singles Day spending in Europe, so it looks likely that retailers partaking in the event will do very well this year.
Millions of Chinese shoppers wait patiently for many months for amazing deep-discount Singles Day deals. So, while we haven’t quite caught on to Singles Day in the UK as yet, it remains the world’s singular biggest shopping day of the year.
When you think about it, there are gifting days for couples, families, friends, mothers and fathers – so why not have a day that celebrates singles? It’s about time, we say!