I work for a British-based company, which means we don’t get a lot of American holidays off. Basically if there’s any sort of Columbus Day or Martin Luther King Jr. Day type day, I only am alerted to it when I see Macy’s commercials boasting special three-day sales. So I guess a happy Veterans Day and giant thank you to all who have and are serving for our country.
But did you guys know there’s another holiday today and it’s been a huge deal in China? It’s called Singles Day and it’s basically anti-Valentine’s Day meets Cyber Monday. For all those who believe V-Day is a holiday made up by card companies to sell millions of greeting cards this year – you’ll be interested in Singles Day.
Singles Day, or Guanggun Jie in Chinese, was founded by a group of college kids in 1993, inspired by the imagery of “11.11”, since guanggun translates to “lone stick”. It started off as a “Bachelors Day”, but the day of being single and partying with other single friends spread to females as well. But in 2009, Alibaba, a huge Chinese e-commerce company that owns sites like their own version of eBay, were all like, ‘Hey, let’s start marketing to these sad single people on Singles Day and push them to splurge on one-day sales’. In other words:
Over the past few years, Singles Day has grown into a billion dollar sales day, becoming the world’s biggest online shopping event – last year the day brought in $5.8 billion worth of items, which is almost $2 billion more than the year before. In comparison, us ‘Murricans spent $1.7 billion on Cyber Monday in 2013. This is what happens when we (don’t) spend money on other people.
Besides the fact that Singles Day is one of the best marketing ideas I’ve heard in some time, it’s particularly big in China because of some demographic factors, including the country’s one-child per family policy, which means there are a shit ton of single men in China right now, ladies.
So it would only make sense to celebrate Singles Day here in America, right? There are already a ton of people every year who are against Valentine’s Day (Anna Howard Shaw Day, anyone?), not to mention the fact that about half the adult population in the U.S. (that’s about 124 million folks) are single, which honestly makes me feel a little bit better about my life, but not by that much. Combine that with young people who are looking for excuses to shop online AND at discounted prices, you’ve got yourself a new Cyber Monday. Here’s hoping Singles Day makes its way to the U.S. soon, because these are just some of the possible items that would sell out immediately:
- Personalized flask
- Wine of the Month
- Anything to do with alcohol
- A comfy onesie
- Gourmet chocolate
- A body pillow with Chris Evans on it
- A year subscription to Match/eHarmony/ChristianMingle
- A Keurig
- Gift certificate to a spa
- A Batman suit
- A box of meats from Omaha Steaks
- This poster:
*Update: after I wrote this post, turns out Alibaba announced they hit an astonishing $2 billion in gross sales within the FIRST HOUR of Singles Day.