As the largest shopping day in the world, many of those in the U.S. may be surprised to have never heard of Singles’ Day. Maybe you’ve heard about it, but don’t know exactly how or why it’s celebrated? This Chinese holiday is celebrated on November 11 each year and currently generates more online gift sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
What is Singles’ Day though, and how can you celebrate it, either solo or with the people in your life you’re the closest with? Read on below to learn more!
What is Singles’ Day?
Currently the biggest online shopping day in the world, Singles’ Day (November 11) serves as a time for people to celebrate being single, as well as a time for single people to try to meet others. While not an officially recognized national holiday, Singles’ Day has grown rapidly in popularity since Chinese online retailer Alibaba started promoting special holiday sales in the late 2000s.
With a celebratory atmosphere for both those who are happily single and those looking for a partner, there are many different ways to participate in the day, but the most common has become buying and giving gifts for yourself and others. Whether you’re looking to surprise a single friend or you just want to treat yourself for the day, Singles’ Day flowers can be an easy and inexpensive way to lift anyone’s spirits, with fresh scents and bursts of color beautifully highlighting all that we already have to be thankful for.
How Did Singles’ Day Start?
Singles’ Day was started in China in 1993 by students at Nanjing University. While the exact origins aren’t known, it’s rumored that Singles’ Day was started as a kind of anti-Valentine’s Day by several single men at one of Nanjing’s all-male dorms hoping to create a similarly celebratory holiday for those not currently in a relationship.
The date November 11 was chosen for how it resembles four single ones standing together when written out (11/11). This sense of togetherness and solidarity also emphasizes one of the original intentions behind the holiday: to reduce a sense of stigma or solitude around being single and instead create an opportunity for people to appreciate themselves just as they are.
What Do You Buy Someone for Singles’ Day?
Many early Singles’ Day sales and online promotions were focused on treating yourself and celebrating your individuality. Online retailers commonly offer discounts on the latest tech gadgets, home goods, clothing, and other fun items people may not otherwise buy for themselves.
What is a good Singles’ Day gift if you’re looking to help a close friend celebrate, though? There are all sorts of fun, inexpensive ways to show a friend you care while helping reaffirm their independence. Scented candles, perfumes or colognes, and incense or oil diffusers are great ways to activate the senses, and can help anyone take a moment to stop and appreciate everything around them. Small desk plants like bonsai trees or succulents can also be a fun way to help a loved one create a cozy, lively home space.
If you’re just looking to remind a single friend that they’re loved, surprise flowers are sure to do the trick. In recent years new couples have even started giving each other Singles’ Day gifts to celebrate having decided to share each other’s lives.
When is National Singles’ Day?
This year Singles’ Day falls on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, but promotions and preorders may start days or even weeks before that. Trying to plan ahead for yourself or to buy gifts for a single friend? It’s never too early to start checking if your favorite brand or online store is planning a Singles’ Day sale.
Fun Fact: While Singles’ Day is predominantly celebrated in Southeast Asia, it is growing as a global tradition, particularly across the U.S. and Europe. In the United Kingdom in 2017, a group of dating and relationship counselors started their own version of Singles’ Day to be held as a dating fair on March 11.
Who Celebrates Singles’ Day?
Once referred to as “Bachelors’ Day” for its popularity among young single men, Singles’ Day has since come to be celebrated by men and women alike. Originally the day was meant to create an opportunity for those with no significant other to treat themselves and celebrate their single status. In recent years though, Singles’ Day has grown to encompass a wide range of celebrations and traditions, with participation from those who are actively looking for a relationship to couples celebrating having met during past years’ events.
Social gatherings for single people to meet and mingle (including “blind date parties”) have also become popular, especially among college-aged people, and media outlets frequently spend the day discussing love and relationship-related topics. (These events must be fairly successful, too, because Singles’ Day has become an increasingly popular date for weddings!)
Is Singles’ Day Bigger Than Black Friday?
Speaking globally, Singles’ Day is not only bigger than Black Friday—it is the biggest online and offline shopping day in the world. Popular Chinese online retailers Alibaba and JD.com have in recent years reported over $40 billion in Singles’ Day sales, nearly four times that of Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales in the U.S.
Within the U.S. Black Friday shopping still rakes in more sales at the moment, but the popularity of Singles’ Day is on the rise. With many U.S.-based retailers (including Amazon) starting to promote the shopping day, Americans spent nearly 30% more on Singles’ Day sales in 2018 than they did the previous year.
Whether you plan a Singles’ Night Out to celebrate your collective independence or just find something fun to send your single friends, Singles’ Day can be a great excuse to treat yourself and others. Just want to send a quick reminder that you care? Someone special in your life is sure to light up when they receive flowers from you, delivered right to their door or office!