Singles Day

Singles Day - Monday, November 11, 2024

Special Interest Shopping

What is Singles Day?

Singles Day is celebrated on November 11. It is a Chinese commercial holiday that helps single people show their pride in being single. It started as a paean to being single, where solo students at China’s Nanjing University chose November 11 (because 11/11 looks like a group of sticks) to celebrate, rather than lament being partnerless. It quickly grew into a fun, unofficial holiday in which single people across China treat themselves to nice dinners and splurge on goods they wouldn’t otherwise buy for themselves. From those humble roots, Singles Day has become the single most lucrative online shopping holiday in the world, with sales reaching $25 billion in 2017, easily surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

China is one of the world’s biggest economic powerhouses in innovation and technology, as much of the United States’s companies have been outsourcing to foreign countries to increase profits. While China has its own economic laws, it has a holiday that not many people in the U.S know about: Singles Day! It sounds strange, but it is a huge part of modern Chinese culture. So, let’s see what it is all about!

Learn about Singles Day

A lot of people get sad about being single. They think it is a negative thing, but we don’t agree! Being single means that you can focus on yourself. Plus, they often say that you need to learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else, right? Being single enables you to focus on number one.

This is something that we should celebrate, not look down on, and that’s exactly what the people of China do! This day has been created so that people can show their pride in being single, and it is a day that is now celebrated in many places across the world. 

History of Singles Day

Singles Day is a Chinese holiday that originated from Nanjing University to be a celebration for single people during the 1990’s. The date corresponds with four “ones”, representing four singles. It was originally called Bachelor’s Day due to how four male college students decided on this day to celebrate the idea of being single.

This idea spread to different universities and eventually into mainstream culture, evolving over time as something men and women can enjoy. The holiday serves as a time when people can meet up and socialize at parties, and has also become one of the most popular shopping days in China.

In 2017, Alibaba Group, a multinational e-commerce conglomerate in retail and manufacturing, earned over $25 billion in sales, beating the previous record of $17.6 billion in 2016. This event is four times the size of America’s biggest shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Shopping becomes a source of wealth and entertainment for the Chinese economy, and in 2017, according to, Alibaba says over 15 million products from more than 140,000 brands participated in the holiday, including 60,000 international brands that offered discounts on Tmall, a retail company operated by Alibaba, which increased up from 100,000 the year before. Alibaba also launched a new luxury retail website,, and opened it’s first automated, robot-managed warehouse to help smooth the transition of the intense sales.

How to Celebrate Singles Day

If you’re interested in shopping through China’s retail market, then check out their company online and see what they have to offer. If you’re single, meet up with friends that you know are single and have a dinner party. Maybe join a dating website and meet up with some new potential partners. When the time comes, use the hashtag #SinglesDay as a way to help spread the word about how popular this holiday is on your social media. Maybe even take a trip to China and learn Mandarin or Cantonese to take part in the fun.

There are a lot of great traditions that you can make the most of on Singles Day. For example, you and your single friends can go on a “date” together so that you can celebrate self-love and independence. You can also take yourself out and go and watch a film or enjoy a fine dining meal. The choice is yours! You do not need to feel held back because you are not in a relationship. You can go out for a meal or do anything that you would do with a partner. After all, there is no better company than your amazing self, right?

Another great way that you can celebrate this way is by writing an appreciation list. Who for? Yourself, of course! Write a list of all of the things that you love about yourself, and post it to social media. This could be anything from the fact that you went to the gym or that you made yourself a good meal. Make a list and share it online, inspiring your other friends and family members to do the same thing. We don’t all celebrate self-love or promote it as much as we should, and so today is the perfect day to do so!

Today is also the perfect day for you to splurge on something that you simply wouldn’t do on a normal day-to-day basis. If you have wanted to buy a pair of designer sunglasses for some time now, go for it! If you have wanted to go to a fancy restaurant for some time, today is the day!

Perhaps you want to go on a luxe vacation? You get the point… treat yourself! This combines the shopping holiday element of the day with the importance of putting yourself first and celebrating just how amazing you are!

You can also spend some time reading about this date in history. There are some amazing shopping statistics. For example, back in 2017, $25 billion was spent in just 24 hours. That’s pretty crazy, right? You can also find out stats about the most popular products, how many packages were shipped, and much more! Wellness products are especially popular, and rightly so; you’re meant to pamper yourself today of all days, right?

History of Singles Day

On 11/11/1993 a group of lonely, yet positive, students at Nanjing University decided that instead of lamenting their lack of a significant other, that they would instead celebrate being single. The reasoning? 11/11 looks like four, single sticks, strung together trying to make the most out of their time. 
The anti-Valentine’s Day celebration of singledom caught on and spread across universities throughout China, generally characterized by fun, harmless events. For example, one student reserved every other seat in a movie theater, prohibiting couples from sitting next to each other during a screening of Beijing Love Story, an aptly named romantic film. 
That level of mischief is the most that holiday’s celebration extends into anti-couples. For the most part, the holiday is a shopping holiday, thanks in part to Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang, who created the first Singles Day sale in 2009, sparking a trend that has surpassed Cyber Monday in single-day transactions. 
While the holiday may have gone commercial, the celebrations and theme are still in line with its founding – to celebrate who you are, your friends, and your loved ones, regardless of what your relationship status is. 

Singles Day timeline


Singles Day hits record for most transactions

Alibaba's mobile wallet app Alipay broke the record for most transactions per second with 256,000.


Alibaba trademarks Singles Day

It took three years, but in December 2012, Alibaba official tradmarked 双十一 (meaning "Double 11").


Singles Day surpasses Cyber Monday

Singles Day surpassed Cyber Monday as the biggest online shopping day of the year by more than double.


Singles Day becomes a shopping holiday

Alibaba CEO Jack Ma instituted the first Singles Day sales in 2009, laying the foundation for the highest grossing shopping day of the year in the world.


Singles Day is born

The accepted origin story for Singles Day is that a group of male students at Nanjing University decided that on this day they would celebrate, rather than lament, being single.

Singles Day Traditions

Singles Day – similar to Cyber Monday or Black Friday – is a shopping holiday. While it initially started as a celebration of oneself and love of oneself, it has evolved into a chance for individuals to treat themselves to goods and fun products. 
Some traditions still remain – like taking yourself out for dinner, taking yourself out to the movies, sheepishly ruining dates, going on “dates” with your other single friends to celebrate independence and self-love. As it grew, and Alibaba got more involved, it became a much more consumer-oriented holiday. Now, traditionally, people buy things on Singles Day, which is part of how it’s become the biggest online shopping day of the year.

Singles Day FAQs

Is there a singles day?

Yes. Singles Day takes place on November 11 every year. While it started as a day to celebrate being romantically unattached it has turned into the single largest shopping holiday of the year. 

What does Singles Day mean?

Singles Day is the English version of Guanggun Jie, which would literally translate to “single sticks day,” a play on words with the way the date 11/11 looks. 

Why is Singles Day celebrated?

Singles Day is celebrated because even single people deserve to have their own fun holiday. 

Who created Singles Day?

Singles day was created by four, single male students in China at Nanjing University. However, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma turned it into the shopping holiday we all know. 

5 Mind Blowing Facts About Singles Day

  1. It made $25 Billion in 24 hours

    Singles Day 2017 was the single biggest shopping day in world history raking in more than $25 billion, a 40% increase over 2016.

  2. 140,000 brands listed more than 15 million products

    The best selling products were in the wellness and baby product categories such as vitamins, diapers, and formula. 

  3. 812 million packages were shipped

    This colossal number is made even more mind blowing by the fact that the first order was delivered within 12.18 minutes of purchase. 

  4. 1.48 billion online transactions were recorded

    Alibaba's Alipay platform recorded 1.48 billion online transactions during the 24-hour period. 90% were on mobile. 

  5. Singles Day bested Prime Day in minutes

    Amazon Prime Day 2017 sold roughly $1 Billion in merchandise over 24 hours, Singles Day beat that in 2 minutes. 

Fun Stats About Singles Day

$30 billion

In 2018, Alibaba generated $30b USD in one day, which is almost a 30 percent increase over 2017. 

$1 billion dollars a minute

The first 85 seconds of Singles Day generating $1b USD. 


Before sales start on Sunday, the Saturday night beforehand features an electrifying show at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai where in 2018 performances by Cirque de Soleil and Mariah Carey were featured. 

Singles Day Activities

  1. Get out there and mingle, you sassy single

    Singles Day in China got its start as "Bachelor's Day"—and many singles would absolutely love to meet that right someone. Why not throw a blind date mixer for you and your single friends? Who knows what could happen?!

  2. Splurge on that outrageous something for you

    Retailers all over the world are introducing unique, singles-oriented deals in Alibaba's footsteps. Take advantage of the special promotions—ticket for 1 to Fiji? Yes, please.

  3. Write an appreciation list for yourself and post it to social media

    Take a moment and list at least 10 things you appreciate about yourself—you're paying your own bills, you went to yoga class today, you're crushing it at work. Share it with your friends and see what awesomeness you inspire. Chances are, if you're loving on yourself, in short order, others will be too.

Why We Love Singles Day

  1. You get to shop for yourself

    Sure, it's fun getting gifts on your birthday, Christmas and Hanukkah—but how can people know what you really want? Today, you get to shop for you. I'm not just talking about buying yourself flowers or a nice meal. Today is the day to show yourself some real love and appreciation. Go on, indulge. Get that new leather jacket, or fancy wine club membership—you have earned it.

  2. You can see you really aren't alone

    Most newspapers, magazines, TV shows and movies make it seem like everyone is coupled up. (Like, how come nobody ever chooses "it's complicated" for their relationship status, anymore?) But, since 2014, single adults outnumber married adults in the United States—and the difference is only growing. Take time today to revel in the knowledge that YOU, single person, are part of the majority!

  3. You can do what you want when you want to

    What do you want to eat tonight? Where would you like to vacation? Is it ok to splurge on those jeans you've been eying? When you're single, you can do what makes you happy. No compromises necessary.

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