Today is the word’s biggest online shopping day, driven mainly by shopping in one country – China. I have been thinking about the symbolism of number 1 on this day, and it is actually intriguing to think that this number - “1” is the core of the cyber-world that Chinese singles will be roaming today.
Historically, Singles Day was chosen to be celebrated on 11/11 where the 1 forms a pair with the other 1. Further analyzing the meaning and composition of the digit “1” of the Singles Day, I have come to a conclusion that symbolic context of this date is very descriptive of Asian culture and customs, where wishing luck to others and hoping for luck for yourself is key: May you never be alone, may you find the one, may you find your match, may you be lucky today, may your emptiness be filled, may you have double happiness, etc. Funny enough that the singles and shoppers in China seem to have found their match in roaming the cyber-world programed of 0s and 1s.
The first ever Singles Day may have mostly gone unnoticed, starting off modestly with just a few singles getting together. By the power of numbers that China possesses (as the most populated country) and because of rapid eCommerce growth, we see the momentum grows each year. For last year’s Singles Day, online sales in China were expressed in extravagant digital sales that were nearly 3 times greater than Black Friday sales in the US.
International eCommerce merchants have been quick to seize their opportunity to be lucky on this day. Singles Day-driven sales kicked off last week already. Bloomberg Intelligence reports that Alibaba expects its sales during this year’s Nov. 11 Singles’ Day shopping event to surge 40 percent from a year earlier to almost 50 billion yuan ($8.2 billion). The Hangzhou-based company, which reported better-than-estimated second quarter profit this week, is also targeting buyers and sellers outside China through platforms such as its Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com.
While not everyone that is shopping online in China on this year’s Singles Day is single, we can be sure that all of them are yearning to find that single thing that has been preoccupying their mind to feel lucky.
May they be lucky to find what they are looking for!
To learn more about China's eCommerce market, download the China Fact Sheet.