Why Does the World’s Biggest Shopping Event – Singles Day – Occur on November 11th?

Article Why Does the World’s Biggest Shopping Event – Singles Day – Occur on November 11th?




  • Analytical
  • Background
  • Insider's Take


During a dorm discussion at Nanjing University in 1993, four young single men invented Singles Day as an optimistic way to deal with the monotony and dreariness of a bachelor’s life. To honor single students mingling and celebrating bachelorhood, November 11th seemed like a suitable date. It looks particularly lonesome because the “double 11” numbers resemble four single digits (ones) in a row. In this excerpt from her book Singles Day: The Machinations Behind the World’s Largest Shopping Day, Qin Yan – a former marketing specialist for Alibaba’s e-commerce website Tmall – explains the strategies that Alibaba used to transform a campus social happening into the world’s biggest retail event. getAbstract recommends this article to people interested in how e-commerce companies influence your spending behavior.


Before Alibaba turned November 11th into the world’s largest shopping event, the day known as Singles Day was associated with young singles gathering together to celebrate single life in a self-deprecating, joking manner. It didn’t involve shopping. The students chose November 11 because it contains four single digits (ones) that seemed especially lonely. Retailers often schedule big sales around specific holidays or on dates that already have a retail connection. Few retailers would choose to take a day celebrated by a small subculture and create a brand new shopping event out of it, but that’s exactly what Alibaba CEO Zhang Yong decided to do with Singles Day. Since Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Tmall began its Singles Day sales in 2009, Tmall’s revenue has soared from ¥50 million ($7.58 million) to ¥120.7 billion in 2016. Singles Day continues to set record-breaking sales numbers each year, surpassing the scale of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. 

In China’s retail sector, November is a terrible time for product promotions since it is sandwiched between two traditional spending periods: the week-long National Day holiday ...

About the Author

Qin Yan is the author of the marketing book Singles Day: The Machinations Behind the World’s Largest Shopping Day. She was involved in the planning of the marketing, logistics and third-party service rules for Alibabas e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall.

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