Is the UK about to embrace Singles Day?

By Chris Dawson September 16, 2015 - 11:20 am

Singles Day 11 NovemberBritain is poised to take on Singles Day, the biggest online sales day in the world, according to David Jinks, of ecommerce courier experts, ParcelHero.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now major days in the retail calendar. However, ParcelHero’s David Jinks points out that it’s just a couple of months until the biggest online bonanza in the world – and it’s an event most British people have never heard of – Singles Day!

Last year a stunning 278 million items were sold on Singles Day, 11 November, worth $9.3bn. That dwarfs the world’s Cyber Monday sales, which only amounted to 36.8 million sales and were worth a ‘mere’ $2.68bn.

Singles Day comes from China. It originated in Nanjing University where the large number of single males celebrated 11th November because it is all the ones: 11/11. Students continued the tradition once they had left university and it really took off in 2011: 11/11/11! It has become an excuse for an unofficial holiday, going on blind dates, and a huge shopping event in which single people buy themselves a treat.

Internet giant Alibaba saw its commercial potential and popularised the day with extensive offers. Its charismatic founder Jack Ma predicted last year: “‘I bet the number of goods sold is going to be scary”. He was right: sales last year totalled $9.3bn through Alibaba’s Tmall, Taobao and AliExpress retail sites.

‘Could the UK also get Singles Day fever in the future? David wouldn’t be surprised. Alibaba is moving the event westwards. Tmall particularly has been setting up partnerships with global brands to manage logistics and sales from outside of China and use Tmall as largely a front-end. Consumers should watch the AliExpress site for UK bargains.

For any internet retailer looking to source products for their site, significant discounts on Alibaba sites on 11/11 can’t be bad; but there are also sales opportunities. As the day grows in popularity UK buyers will start to seek out Singles Day bargains. Small retailers need to respond to this demand with Singles Day sales on their own sites or online marketplace stores such as eBay.

David sums up the prospect of a bumper singles day in the UK saying “The day is ideally timed, by November 11 shoppers are very “Christmas conscious” and already buying presents, and it’s an opportunity for responsive retailers to steal a march on Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. Retailers large and small should get single minded!“.

  • Mark_H
    2 years ago

    Somebody should run a service that sends out (badly) gift wrapped items that the recipient (purchaser) does not want.

    That would make them feel like they have some real friends/family.

  • 2 years ago

    I am confused. Why should somebody like me(Divorced) dash out on the 11th November to buy something to celebrate that I alone in my old age(65 years old)? Surely its something I would rather forget!

  • Bunchy
    2 years ago

    A “holiday” for the young with disposable income?

    I think quite a number of older people will probably be focusing on the following Sunday.

  • Kris
    2 years ago

    Perhaps not in the UK, we should be embracing Remembrance Day on 11/11, hardly a day to celebrate with some frivolous shopping…

    • Mark_H
      2 years ago

      Even worse for those remembering.

  • tinker
    2 years ago

    lets celebrate “normal day” bugger all these special days when you run round chasing your tail sweating your nads off

  • JD
    2 years ago

    ‘Singles Day comes from China’ ……

    Any bets on when it might arrive?

    Anyway we will probably all be far too busy putting up fences …..

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