The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

All The Ones …

Today it’s ‘singles day’ in China.

If you haven’t lived here or don’t run a big multinational corporation, you probably haven’t heard of it.

But if you have – or do – I’m pretty certain it’s a day you find very important.

Singles day was originally created by some university students to celebrate ‘being single’.

In a culture that believes and promotes the importance of family, being single was – and still is – something that tends to provoke more questions than support.

It’s even harder if you’re a female.

If you’re not married by 30, you’re labelled ‘left behind’ … a horrible label implying you will be left on the shelf until eternity.

Apart from the fact it’s hurtful and simply not true, the fact that the culture believes you can only be happy if you are with someone before the age of 30 is pretty mad.

But then there’s a lot of madness in this country.

Some is beautiful, some not so much.

Which goes back to singles day.

The university students behind it, didn’t want to feel like they were an embarrassment of society, so they created this day to embrace and celebrate their situation. To be honest, for China – especially in the 90’s – that was a pretty ballsy move.

They chose the 11th of November because it features all the ones … 11.11 … and for years, it was a day embraced by many university students, especially in Nanjing, where it is alleged to have started.

Then in 2009, business got involved.

Seeing an opportunity to exploit the ‘singles day celebration’, they started offering special online deals to entice people to spend.

Now China doesn’t need an excuse to shop and before you knew it, singles day morphed from a day of celebrating singledom with your single mates into the single largest online shopping day in the World.

How large?

Well, last year it generated US$9.3 billion.

Yes, 9.3 billion. In US dollars in 24 hours.

If you think that is impressive, they did US$2 billion in the first hour.


For all the talk in the West of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, nothing compares to the craziness of China’s Singles Day and given the sales in 2009 was only US$8 million [not billion] and only 27 retailers offered discounts, you can see the level of growth that has happened in the space of 6 years and why every CEO of every retail organisation in the World is desperate to get in on the action.

The thing is that the discounts aren’t just on big stuff … it’s on the little things too.

House cleaning goods. Make-up. Batteries.

In fact, far more little things get bought than big.

Not just because there’s more on offer, but because Singles Day has become something where people feel they have to buy something just so they can feel they were part of the madness.

You know when FOMO extends to buying three AA batteries, just so you can say you ‘bagged a bargain’ to your mates, the World – or should I say, China – has gone mad.

But then, as I said, China does mental better than anywhere else in the World.

And that’s why it’s so bloody special.

20 Comments so far
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If you look closely at the sales, I bet you’ll find a billion bucks has been spent on gadgets, birkenstocks and queen reissues. I wonder who will have bought those?

Comment by DH

I bought some glass cleaning liquid. Not even wifi glass cleaning liquid. How’s that for maturity?! [And sadness]

Comment by Rob

That is depressing.

Comment by DH

I know. And Jill is away.

I really should have exploited the opportunity more. Mind you, I did buy 2 engraved bricks at the Nottingham Forest stadium … so it’s not all sensible spending.

Comment by Rob

Billy! China has named a day after you.

Comment by DH

I’ll make sure the cute ones aren’t single. For one night.

Comment by Billy Whizz

one night is all it needs to pass on that fucking annoying billy std.

Comment by andy@cynic

Most women just pass.

Comment by John

the most mental thing about commieland is they let you in and have let you fucking stay. that fucking madness.

Comment by andy@cynic

im betting youre not going to do any fucking commenting because youll be too busy propping up the chinese economy by buying tat on fucking singles day. which in your case has been renamed to losers day.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Rob

as if i give a fuck about what you say.

Comment by andy@cynic

Increasing consumer debt. Competing on price. China has arrived. I’m exuding positivity.

Comment by John

mr fucking happy.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re right … we’re now seeing companies offering ‘loans’ to maximise the Singles Day savings opportunity. For a country that believed in ‘cash’ up until a few years ago, the level of debt that has been created – and continues to be created – is frightening.

Comment by Rob

I’m waiting for Trump to declare America cannot let China beat it in terms of mindless shopping and if he becomes president, he will change that. Of course he won’t explain how he will change it, continuing his policy of big claims, no explanation.

Comment by George

Little bit of politics there

Comment by John

He thinks he’s Ben Elton.

Comment by Rob

I assume this is why you say Chinese retailers will support any holiday as long as they see an opportunity to drive revenue. On the few occasions I have been in Shanghai in December, I have been shocked by the huge level of Christmas decorations that are in shops and on streets, despite China not celebrating Christmas.

Comment by Lee Hill

Yep. Christmas here is more Christmassy than most places I’ve ever lived. It’s crazy.

Comment by Rob

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