For the Singles, the Anti-Valentine’s Festival

Written by News, Student Life

  • It started out as a joke on a college campus. Singles’ Day or Bachelor’s Day was initially celebrated on November 11 (11/11) at various universities in Nanjing during the 1990s because the date consists of four ‘one’-s.
  • It is also called Bachelors’ Day.  When the holiday was first created, it was only celebrated by young men without romantic partners
  • single-day
  • All 180 million singletons in China celebrate the holiday each year. However, the media and retailers still mainly focus on the solo men.
  • 969865_692178210798850_293593841_nLet’s party! Aside from shopping and gift-giving, the quirky, symbolic holiday has plenty of fun traditions. Young people, websites and companies often hold “blind date” parties, where singles come together in hopes of coupling up. In 2011, the city of Shanghai organized one of the biggest blind dates ever, attracting 10,000 singles.
  • Not every single is happy on this day! People may tease themselves for being still ‘sadly’ single, and some universities would even put forward special activities to gather singles together for a celebration.
  • Do you know why 2011 was marked as the ‘Singles Day of the Century’? Because this date has six ‘one’s rather than four!…More like an excuse to take celebrations to a higher level…
  • Why did Singles Day quickly become a hit? It tapped into China’s changing demographics, marketing to its emerging middle class and its increasingly affluent young consumer population. The online shopping extravaganza on November 11, started seven years ago by e-commerce giant Alibaba, and has become Chinese consumers’ biggest annual shopping spree.


  • The world’s biggest E-commerce holiday! 11/11 has become the world’s biggest E-commerce holiday with sales on Alibaba’s sites Tmall and Taobao at US$5.8 million and US$9.3 million in 2014 (Wikipedia). In fact, Alibaba’s Singles Day sale is larger than the combined e-commerce spending on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday from desktop computers in the U.S.
  • 11/11 is going global. Alibaba founder Jack Ma Yun plans to include six million products from over 40,000 merchants, and more than 30,000 brands from 25 countries. International brands selling on Alibaba’s online mall Small include P&G, Unilever, Burberry, Estee Lauder, Zara, Huggies, Macy’s  M, Costco, Apple and Nike.
  • Probably the BUSIEST DAY EVER for the post office.  Already China’s post office estimates that Singles Day will lead to nearly 800 million packages being shipped in 2015.
  • It only took an hour for Alibaba to reach $2 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) in 2014 — approximately one-eighth of the time it took in 2013. How long will it take this year? We’ll see.

Last modified: November 20, 2015

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