Celebrate Being Single with a Shopping Spree
- Nov 11, 2015 | Gail Cole
Update, 11.12.2015: Singles' Day 2015 sales blasted through previous sales records. Consumers spent a combined $14.3 billion on November 11 on Alibaba. To put that figure into perspective, Cyber Monday in the United States brought in $135 billion in 2014. Even more stunning is the news that nearly 70% of sales were made on mobile devices.
Americans celebrate veterans on November 11. The Chinese celebrate singles.
The brain-child of single university students in China seeking an excuse to buy themselves presents, Singles’ Day has mushroomed into a global online shopping event. Its success is attributed to Alibaba, which in 2009 launched an annual online sale on Singles’ Day. It is now known as the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.
That first year, 27 merchants participated. Last year, 27,000 merchants took part, including many global sellers. This year, a record number of foreign brands are participating. According to Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s chief executive, “Chinese consumers associate quality and prestige with American and European brands” (Fortune).
Sales last year crushed the sales on America’s Cyber Monday. Singles Day 2015 (which as always starts on November 10 in the United States) is expected to be even bigger. Like Black Friday, it suffers from mission creep and is no longer strictly limited to one day. “Some Chinese e-commerce sites have been offering heavily discounted items for a week now, on the condition that they are paid for on 11 November.”
It has become the world’s biggest online shopping day of the year, with a kick-off celebration gala “so consumers and their families can share in the start of this national ‘holiday’ together.” James Bond (Daniel Craig) was there, as was singer Adam Lambert. Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood (House of Cards) promoted the event from the Oval Office. It’s a shame he couldn’t participate. Maybe he’ll use his clout to open Singles’ Day to Americans next year.